TUNIS - The family of slain Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid renewed their demand Wednesday for the truth about his assassination, after the alleged perpetrator was killed in an anti-terrorist operation.
TUNIS – The family of slain Tunisian opposition politician Chokri Belaid renewed their demand Wednesday for the truth about his assassination, after the alleged perpetrator was killed in an anti-terrorist operation.
The interior ministry said Kamel Gadhgadhi, accused of shooting Belaid dead at close range on February 6, 2013, was among seven militants killed in a 20-hour operation launched on a house in a Tunis suburb on Monday.
Belaid’s assassination plunged Tunisia into a political crisis from which it has only started to emerge with the adoption of a new constitution last month, three years after the 2011 uprising that sparked the Arab Spring.
“We want to know the whole truth. Gadhgadhi was not alone. There are other parties implicated and we hope they will be captured so that the truth is revealed,” Belaid’s brother, Abdelmajid, told AFP.
“We didn’t want Gadhgadhi to be killed and we are certainly not celebrating his death. He was a Tunisian citizen even if he was a terrorist, and we wanted him to be fairly tried,” he added.
Announcing the success of the operation on Tuesday, in which a policeman was killed in addition to the slain militants, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said the security forces had tried to avoid casualties.
“(But) each of them was carrying automatic weapons, grenades and suicide vests,” he added, referring to the gunmen, who responded with “violent resistance” when their house was surrounded.
Ben Jeddou said the killing of Gadhgadhi was “the best present that we could give Tunisians,” on the first anniversary of Belaid’s assassination.
Dozens of people demonstrated in central Tunis Wednesday demanding the truth about the attack and calling for the resignation of Ben Jeddou, whose Islamist party Ennahda, in power at the time, was blamed by the slain politician’s family for his death.
“Who ordered the assassination?” asked Naila Saidane, one of the protesters.
“If Gadhgadhi is dead, then they killed him so that the truth died with him.”
The authorities blamed the broad daylight killing on jihadists from Ansar al-Sharia, a Salafist group suspected of links to Al-Qaeda that was blacklisted as a terrorist organisation last summer.
The group, which says it rejects violence, has never claimed responsibility for any attack, and only suspected accomplices were ever arrested in the Belaid case.