June 25, 2014
As-Sabah
p. 3
Military and security forces carried out a wide-ranging sweep operation on Mt. Ahirch in northern Jendouba in the hopes of finding terrorist elements suspected to be hiding there. The mountain was the staging place for a February attack that took the lives of four officers and citizens.

p. 4
Ghazi Jeribi, the Defense Minister, said very clearly to the Constituent Assembly yesterday that the defense ministry takes the threat of terrorism seriously and is continuing to make preparations in strengthening the borders. To this end the defense apparatus has cooperated with Algeria in forming a joint committee to share information and plan operations on the western border. There has also been internal cooperation between the ministries of defense and interior in securing the eastern border.

These preparations are a result of intelligence showing terrorist organizations are preparing to infiltrate Tunisia, especially in the wake of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) successful invasion of Iraq. There are fears that it is getting close to Tunisia’s borders. Retired Brigadier General Mokhtar Ben Nasr does not believe this will happen. He says that the organization is likely to remain limited to Iraq and Syria for the time being, and that its members will be kept there by their loyalty. The real fear, according to General Ben Nasr, is that terrorist groups associated with Ansar ash-Sharia in Libya will attempt to enter the country. To this effect the military has made the southern desert a closed military area. It is vitally important, the general said, to keep the desert triangle between Tunisia, Libya, and Algeria under military control.

Alia Alani, an expert on terrorist movements, gave a history of ISIL and said that most Tunisians going to fight in Syria are recruited and sent through Ansar ash-Sharia networks. Of these, most end up joining ISIL and the rest join Jabhat al-Nusra, the Al-Qaeda wing in Syria. According to interior minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou, 2,400 Tunisians have travelled to Syria to join the jihad there, of whom 80% have joined ISIL, and many have secured leadership positions in the organization.

***

Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said to the Constituent Assembly in his testimony to them yesterday that he expects a terrorist attack in Tunisia during the month of Ramadan and in the course of the upcoming elections. The defense minister assured deputies that the interior ministry had been aware of and preparing for this threat for some time.

In answering questions from the deputies about a “parallel security structure” infiltrating the ministry, Jeddou denied the accusation. He emphasized that the various structures of the interior ministry cooperate with one another. He went on to say that some of the security unions did act outside the legal framework, and the government is working on a way to regulate union activity. Regarding torture, he said that the investigations are ongoing, and that of the 546 security officers referred to disciplinary committees for torture, 59 had been confirmed as torturers.

Ben Jeddou gave some numbers describing the struggle against terrorism as well. He said that the state had brought 1,087 cases against networks sending young Tunisian men to fight. Of these, 911 have been arrested and are facing 2,044 cases this year. 945 members of terrorist organizations have been charged, and assault operations have been prevented, with 12 terrorist attacks successfully repelled.

Ben Jeddou also said that more than 2,400 Tunisians are fighting in Syria and Iraq, and that social media is being used as a recruitment tool for these jihadis. He announced the restoration of more than 40 mosques this year that had been under the power of takfiri groups. In speaking of the attack on his home, he said that there had been some negligence in the security apparatus, but that was not representative of its overall efficiency. He said investigations are ongoing, but that there appeared a close correlation with the Uqba Ibn Nafi Brigade, which answers to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

He also mentioned that the district heads that had been displaced in the course of recent activity would be reintegrated into general operations.

Defense Minister Ghazi Jeribi also spoke about the dangers of terrorism, which he said seeks to target Tunisia’s democratic process. He said that the buffer zone on the border had produced positive results in preventing terrorist infiltration. He also confirmed the slow progress in eliminating terrorists from the Mt. Chaanbi area.

Finally, the Justice Minister, Hafedh Ben Salah, mentioned that the judiciary is still confined by anti-terror law which has yet to be replaced by the constituent assembly.

At-Tunisia
p. 3
The first criminal circuit of the Court of First Instance ordered the 15 individuals suspected of burning and looting the American Embassy to remain in prison.

***

The third criminal circuit of the Court of First Instance sentenced a Tunisian and a Libyan to 10 years in prison for trafficking in explosives, in addition to a fine for 10,000 dinar. The same sentence also called for a second Tunisian who had fled to be captured immediately.

p. 4
Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou revealed yesterday that there are 2,400 Tunisians fighting in Syria

***

The third criminal circuit of the Court of First Instance sentenced two men to prison for attempting to blow up the headquarters of Jawhara FM.

***

The 31st investigating judge of the Court of First Instance in Tunis heard testimony from Tawfiq al-Dimasi, the former Director of General Security, on the escape of Saifallah Ben Hassine from the Al-Fatah Mosque.

***

Police and military forces conducted a sweep on Mount Ahirch in northern Jendouba in order to search out terrorist elements.

p. 8
The monument to slain policeman Sakrat Sharni was vandalized with pro-jihad graffiti.

p. 10
Counterterrorism forces in Mahdia arrested a young man who they found to be connected with salafi groups sending soldiers to Syria to fight with ISIL. The connection was discovered after the 20 year old was placed

Al-Maghreb
p. 3
According to Shukri Al-Abidi, the Libyan Academic Researcher at the Bergin University in Norway, the situation in Libya will have negative effects in Tunisia, including the thousands of displaced, which would affect the service sector and the security situation.

p. 14
With the slowdown in the process of transitional justice and the poorly written transitional justice law, parts of civil society have begun to criticize the process. Several proposed fixes to the law in an unofficial session of the Constituent Assembly. Other organizations are waiting for amendments that will be prepared by the Truth and Dignity commission.

p. 15
Hafedh Ben Saleh, the Minister of Justice, gave the keynote at a symposium organized by the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy on “Judicial Guaranties in the Context of Counterterrorism.” The symposium dealt with the difficulty of balancing freedoms with the fight against terrorism. Ben Saleh noted the importance of changes to the terror law that are now in committee in the Constituent Assembly, and spoke about the need to reform the legal process to take into account the balance between efficiency and legal rights.

June 26, 2014
As-Sabah
p. 2
Radia Nasrawi, the president of the Tunisian Organization for the Prevention of Torture, called for a quicker implementation of anti-torture laws in a press conference yesterday at the headquarters for the Tunisian National Union for Reporters. The conference was organized by several human rights activist organizations against torture.

Mohammad Nasib, of Freedom and Equality, confirmed that torture is ongoing and that perpetrators have not been punished. He said the executive branch needed to guarantee its own independence in dealing with torture cases. Speaking to the number of cases involved, Hamida Daridi, a member of the Tunisian Association for the Defense of Human Rights, said that her Association had found 37 complaints of torture in the last two years, with 3 of them leading to deaths. There were also 40 allegations of assault in the street, with one death from being struck by a police car. Finally there were 29 cases of torture in the prisons, with 3 deaths.

Daridi went on to say that there was a worrying lack of activity on the judicial track, even though her association had brought close to 300 cases against those involved in torture. She said that there is a return to the targeting of human rights activists, and called on human rights organizations to visit the suspected torture sites and see for themselves. She also reaffirmed the need to enforce anti-torture legislation.

It is to be mentioned that Lotfi Ben Jedou announced on Monday that the Interior Ministry had taken steps to deter those involved in torture, and was working within a strategic framework to address the issue.

p. 4
In the course of the army’s 58th anniversary celebration, Defense Minister Ghazi Jaribi revealed that the army would be getting more direct funding that it could use to fight terror.

***

Details are emerging about the firefight that occurred late Sunday night in Kasserine. It is rumored that the terrorist group was going to meet a shopkeeper who was keeping a stockpile for them. The group came in wearing military gear to carry the supplies on a donkey and paid the man 800 dinar. Two stood guard as the rest went inside.

Police sources asserted that despite the entire group getting away, the operation was a victory because the terrorists were not able to take the food stockpile with them, which would hurt them in the coming days.

At-Tunisia
p. 5
Judges, activists, and representatives national and international organizations met in the ministry of justice yesterday to discuss Tunisia’s refugee law. The current law forbids refugees from political activity or to do anything to compromise the interests of the nation. It does allow refugees freedom of religion, the right to education, judicial equality, ownership rights, free movement within and out of the country, the right to work, and social security.

p. 6
Asem al-Dardouri, the president of the Tunisian Organization for Security and the Citizen, spoke at a gathering organized by his organization. The subject of the gathering was “Confronting terrorism is too much for security to solve,” and was presented with support from the European-Mediterranean Network for Human Rights. Dardouri called for a decision regarding those members of the security forces who are isolated and asked that the Interior Ministry remove relatives of Abu Ayadh (the leader of Ansar ash-Sharia in Tunisia) from positions of responsibility for terrorism issues.

Dardouri went on to say that the security forces had the ability to dismantle terrorist cells, but that political decisions are having a negative effect on security decisions. He also presented pictures which he claimed proved the relationship between senior security leaders and sheikhs involved in takfir and support of terrorism.

On the other hand, Basma al-Sudani, a representative of the Euro-Mediterranean Office for Human Rights, emphasized at the gathering the need for support for the security apparatus, and the need for security officers to understand their rights and duties. She said that the major fear of Tunisians is the return of dictatorship in the name of fighting terror, but that does not mean that the security forces should be left in their weakened state.

***

Human Rights Watch asked the Tunisian Government to begin an investigation of Tunisians fighting in Iraq and Syria who may be committing war crimes. One man, calling himself Abu Hamzeh al-Muhamadi and claiming to be Tunisian, posted videos and pictures to his Facebook page that implicate him in the torture and execution of five Iraqi Border Guards.

p. 8
Radia Nasrawi, the president of the Tunisian Organization for the Prevention of Torture, said in a press conference that torture and ill-treatment at the hands of Tunisian security forces are ongoing. She said that the lax reform efforts are to blame.

***

A suit is being brought against 11 members of security forces in Gafsa for torture, ill-treatment, and assault against two men during the 2008 uprising there.

p.11
Police have arrested a shop owner in Kasserine who was caught supplying food to a terrorist cell.

***

Five salafis were released from custody after having been accused of recruiting for the jihad in Syria.

***
A member of the Abu Bakr Al-Sadiq Brigade has been denied bail as the investigation against him continues.

July 1, 2014
As-Sabah
p. 3
Security forces are on high alert during the month of Ramadan, fearing that security headquarters could come under attack around iftar, as happened last Ramadan in a series of escalating attacks that ended with the assassination of politician Mohammad Brahimi. This, along with warnings from the Algerian army about terrorist activity, has led police to raise the alert level until the end of the month.

p. 4
The army and National Guard mounted an operation in the mountains of Ayn Darahim that led to the elimination of two terrorists and the wounding of a third, and included helicopters, four-wheelers, and tanks. The supply cache of the terrorist group, which is thought to number about sixteen Tunisians and Algerians, was destroyed. Three members of the security forces were injured. There is now a sweep going on in the other mountains of the area to find the remaining parts of the terrorist group, which is thought to answer to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

At-Tunisia
p. 4
Tunisia’s cooperation agreement with the United States of America appeared to be strengthened in the legal and judicial realms after new projects were announced in prison system reform yesterday morning.

p. 5
The two Tunisian diplomats who were kidnapped in Libya, Arousi Kontesi and Mohammad Belsheikh, have been released.

p.7
The terrorist cell in Farnana, Jendouba that was responsible for the killing four security officers this past February in Awlad Minaa has been eliminated. 15 members of the group were captured by security forces, including Wael Bosaidi, suspected of organizing the attack. Bosaidi became known in the weeks after the revolution for takfiri incitement at the Bilal Binrabeh Mosque on the north side of the city of Jendouba. He is associated with Algerian terrorists who have pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, rather than local group Ansar ash-Sharia. Members of the cell were found in a state of extreme hunger, which had driven them to descend from their mountain hideout seeking food. It was this that tipped off residents and security forces to their hideout, and three weeks ago a sweep operation of the area began. Algerian forces assisted in the operation.

***

Officials in Kasserine were unable to fight fires on Mount Selloum due to the danger of terrorists still inhabiting the mountain. The fires started during the bombing of the mountain by security forces.

p. 9
A case involving a stockpile of weapons in Kasserine has been referred to the appeals court. There are currently 31 accused in the case in custody, with 13 having been released for the time being and 38 still at large, including Libyans, Algerians, and members of the Al-Qaeda leadership.

July 3, 2014
Al-Maghreb
p. 3
The public prosecutor’s office for the Court of First Instance opened an investigation into the involvement of Tunisians in crimes in Iraq.

p. 4
The Rights and Freedoms and General Legislation Committees discussed the second and third parts of the draft law on fighting terrorism and money laundering. These parts were concerned mostly with money laundering and its relationship with funding terrorism, and mostly are a re-write of the 2003 terror law.

p. 5
Four members of the army were killed on Mt. Wargha in Kef yesterday after their vehicle hit a landmine.

***

Another landmine on Mt. Samama in Kasserine took the life of a young man.

p. 8
Civil society groups put on a protest against terrorism in front of the Libyan Embassy yesterday

July 4, 2014
As-Sabah
p. 3
The danger of terrorism and IEDs is increasing and the country is demanding action. The deaths of soldiers at the hands of terrorists who plant mines has become commonplace. The growing danger of terror in Tunisia is, according to military spokesman Nour al-Din Nifr, linked to a global campaign to topple the traditional state. Nifr went on to say that we are facing the sixth generation of terrorists, who are international and bent on establishing an Islamic state.

***

An opinion piece by Rafiq Benabdulla urged Tunisians not to take terrorism in stride, but to fight it, lest Tunisia become another failed state.

***

Discussion of the Terrorism law continued to return to square one in the Constituent Assembly today.

p. 4
After the popular TV show Maktoub showed poor conditions in its representations of Tunisian prisons, prison officers have been in dispute with the channel that runs the program, at-Tunisia. This had led to a larger debate about prison conditions in the country.

***

Security sources revealed to As-Sabah that the attack carried out in Kef earlier this week was carried out by a cell of about 12 terrorists under Algerian leadership with advanced weaponry.