Slain Tunisian opposition leader taken for burial under escort

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The funeral procession of slain Tunisian opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi left his home under military escort on Saturday ahead of his burial.

Crowds gathered at the procession in a show of support for Brahimi, who was shot dead outside his home on Thursday with the same weapon used to gun down fellow opposition politician Chokri Belaid in February, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jidu said.

Wrapped in the red and white Tunisian flag, Brahimi's coffin left the Tunis neighborhood of Ariana shortly before 10:00 am (0900 GMT) en route to El-Jellaz cemetery.

One man was killed on Saturday in violent protests in the southern Tunisian city of Gafsa, two days after Brahimi's assassination.

The man was identified as Mohamed Moufli, 45, according to AFP news agency, which added that he was killed as police used tear gas to break up the night-time march.

Thousands of anti-government protesters massed in the capital on Friday, while shops and banks closed their doors and all flights in and out of the country were cancelled.

Meanwhile, Brahmi's widow Mbarka told AFP he would be buried Saturday at El Jallez cemetery in southern Tunis next to Belaid.

Jidu said Friday that Brahimi was killed with the same gun used to assassinate Belaid six months earlier.

“The same 9mm automatic weapon that killed Belaid also killed Brahimi,” bin Jidu said.

While four suspects have been arrested, there were around 14 involved in the killing of Brahimi and Belaid, the minister added.

The main suspect is hard-line Salafist Abu Bakir Hakim, who is already being sought on suspicion of smuggling weapons from Libya, bin Jidu said.

(With AFP)

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