2 Al Qaeda Suspects Arrested in Tunisia
Tunisian authorities have arrested two suspected Al Qaeda terrorists carrying an explosives belt, similar to those used by suicide bombers in Israel. According to a report broadcast on state television, the two men were also carrying several bombs with them.
They were picked up in the Tataouine region in Nekrif, approximately 130 kilometers (80 miles) from the Libyan border.
Both Arab and Western officials have said it is possible the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) terrorist organization is using the Libyan civil war as cover to obtain weapons and smuggle them into other countries, such as Mali.
The men, who were of Algerian and Libyan origin, carried Afghan identity documents, according to Reuters. They were passing through Tunisia on their way back to Libya from Algeria, the Interior Ministry told reporters. Both were linked to two men who were arrested in Tunisia last week.
All four are suspected of being members of AQIM, an offshoot of the group founded and led by the late Osama bin Laden. The terrorist chief was assassinated earlier this month by U.S. Navy SEALs in a special operation in Pakistan.
Less than two weeks ago, Tunisian authorities cracked down on protests in an effort to restabilize the country in the face of massive demonstrations following a comment by the Interior Minister who expressed fear of a military coup if an Islamist party were to win the national elections in July. Although the country's interim government has managed to keep the country in relatively good control, most Arab nations in the region are still struggling to regain stability following the political upheavals that were launched by Tunisia's "Jasmine Revolution" in January.