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Tunisia probe ordered over 'tip-off' of MP's murder

Published: Updated:

Tunisia's interior minister has ordered a probe into claims there was a tip-off that might have saved the life of an MP who was assassinated in July but not acted on.

Opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi was gunned down on July 25, setting off a political crisis that threatens to bring down the coalition government led by Islamist party Ennahda.

On Thursday, the opposition claimed an unidentified foreign intelligence agency had informed police and Prime Minister Ali Larayedh 11 days earlier that Brahmi was in danger, but that he was never warned.

The official TAP news agency said Friday Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou had ordered an internal investigation into the matter, adding that Jeddou had not been informed of the tip-off.

The probe will seek to determine "the reasons why the minister was not informed about this warning and why it was not followed up."

Brahmi, 58, of the leftist Popular Movement, was assassinated on Thursday outside his home in Ariana, near Tunis, by gunmen on a motorbike.

His killing came less than six months after another prominent opposition figure, Chokri Belaid, was shot dead, and authorities say the two were killed with the same gun.

Last month, Larayedh put the blame for both murders on Tunisia's main Salafist Muslim movement Ansar al-Sharia, which the government has linked to Al-Qaeda.

Ennahda has been heavily criticised for not doing enough to prevent waves of violence that have rocked Tunisia over the past two years.

An umbrella group of opposition parties is demanding the government's immediate resignation and a cabinet of technocrats be formed.