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Suspect held in Tunisia opposition murder

10:15 Tue Feb 26 2013
AAP

The suspected killer of Tunisia leftist opposition figure Chokri Belaid, a leading critic of the country's ruling Islamists, has been arrested.

Police sources say the suspect was arrested along with an alleged accomplice, and both were members of the radical Muslim Salafist movement. The main suspect, a 31-year-old furniture maker, was arrested in the Carthage suburb of Tunis.

The second man was allegedly the getaway motorbike rider for the lone, hooded gunman who shot dead Belaid, 48, at close range in front of his Tunis home on February 6, two police officers told AFP on Monday.

They said the arrests were prompted by the testimony of a woman who had witnessed the killing and has since been placed under police protection.

Online media also reported the two arrests.

Interior Minister Ali Larayedh, who has been tapped to form a new government in the face of the deepening political crisis sparked by Belaid's killing, said last week that arrests had been made.

Belaid's family has blamed the ruling Ennahda party for being behind the killing, an accusation the Islamists have vehemently denied.

The assassination triggered days of unrest as people took to Habib Bourguiba Avenue, epicentre of the 2011 uprising that toppled ex-dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, worsening a long-running political crisis in Tunisia.

On the day of the murder, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali proposed the formation of a government of technocrats as a way out of the crisis. But the initiative was rejected by his own Ennahda party, leading to his resignation.

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