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Tunisian government cracks down on Islamist 'terror' group

TUNIS, Tunisia, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh labeled a conservative Islamist organization a terrorist group for allegedly carrying out two political assassinations.

Laarayedh said Ansar al-Sharia's founder Abu Iyadh, is suspected of helping plot the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia and has fled capture.

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Ansar al-Sharia was a main conservative opposition group calling for the dissolution of the Tunisian government it says is being run by elements of the former authoritarian regime deposed in 2010. The sitting government outlawed the group from acting as a political party in May.

Laarayedh said the government has hard proof members of Ansar al-Sharia plotted the assassination of National Constituent Assembly member Mohamed Brahmi July 25.

Laarayedh said the Tunisian interior minister will present the evidence publicly on Wednesday, Tunisia Live reported.

"Based on our reports and evidence, we now categorize Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist organization," the prime minister said.

While stressing Ansar al-Sharia is not being targeted for its conservative religious beliefs, Laarayedh said any group seeking to use violence as a means for political gain will not be tolerated.

"There is no truce with terrorism, no truce with whoever uses arms against the law and society," he said.

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