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Salafist group threatens to topple Tunisian government

Published: Updated:

Supporters of fugitive leader of Tunisian Salafists Seif Allah Ibn Hussein, also known as Abu Iyadh, threatened Thursday to topple Tunisia’s government led by moderate Islamist party Ennahda.

Iyadh's followers have echoed his calls, made Wednesday, to topple Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh and throw him into the “dustbin of history” if the government interfered with his radical Islamist group, Ansar al-Sharia.

“To the leaders of Ennahda, if he remains, restrain your sick one, otherwise he will be the target of our war to bring him down,” read a post on the Facebook page of the Salafist group. The statement was made in reference to Larayedh.

It further called on the party “to catch up... or else you will not hear our response, you will see it with your own eyes.”

Larayedh, the former interior minister, was appointed prime minister earlier this month following a political crisis that was sparked by the assassination of a leftist politician.

Before forming the new government, Larayedh repeatedly denounced Abu Iyadh, and told French paper Le Monde that Ansar al-Sharia’s leader was directly involved in violence and arms trafficking that was undermining Tunisia’s security.

Iyadh is wanted by police for allegedly inciting an attack on the U.S. embassy in September. Four people were killed in the events, which began as a protest over a film that mocked the Prophet Mohammed.

Tunisia’s prime minister has previously linked Iyadh’s group with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb after clashes in December between armed Islamists and security forces near the Algerian border left a policeman dead.