Tunisia breaks up terror group’s media arm

The interior ministry says 12 suspected members of the group were arrested

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Tunisia said on Tuesday it broke up the media arm of Islamist militant group "Ansar al-Shariah," which is also active in the neighboring Libya and is suspected behind the 2012 killing of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi.

Tunisia's interior ministry said in a statement that the group's media arm is headed by a woman.


“The dismantled cell was headed by a woman named Fatima al-Zawwaghi; she was responsible for coordinating operations and is directly linked to the organization’s leader Seif Allah bin Hussein – known as Abou Iyadh,” Interior Ministry’s Spokesman, Mohammad Ali al-Arwi, said in a statement.

The group’s fugitive leader is a former al-Qaeda member who previously fought in Afghanistan.

“Zawwaghi is a very dangerous woman who works in planning and cooperation between various terrorism parties,” according to Arwi.

“She communicates directly with Seif Allah bin Hussein, his brother Hafez Lutfi bin Hussein [both accused of terrorist activities] and Lukman abu Sakhr [an Algerian wanted by Tunisian authorities over terrorism activities].

“It is the first time a woman leader is revealed in the group, and there is another woman-leader actively operating inside the cell, named Hayat al-Omari,” Arwi said, without revealing further details about the nature of Omari’s role.

The interior spokesman said authorities detained 16 active members of the group, 12 of which were sent to jail and four were released.”

Zawwaghi “worked on recruiting young people online and enrolling them in the ranks of terrorists located in Jebel ech Chambi,” Arwi said.

He said the terror group was planning attacks on "prominent media and political figure.” its use.

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