Tunisia’s Ansar Al-Sharia leader and Afghanistan veteran Abou Iyadh remains at large, contrary to a report made earlier today by the Tunisian press agency AFP and state media, which suggested that Saif Edine Ben Hassine was arrested by U.S. Special forces in coordination with Libyan security authorities.
A Reuters report has confirmed that the news is false.
“U.S. forces were not involved in any operations regarding Ansar Al Sharia leader Abou Iyadh today in Libya,” a spokesman for U.S. Africa Command said.
Those supporting the Salafi movement have furiously refuted the news of the arrest on Facebook and Twitter. A tweet by Ansar Al-Sharia Tunisia at approximately 4h30 pm states that the group “denies news about the arrest of its Chiekh Abou Iyadh.”
Details surrounding the suspected capture of Abou Iyadh remain unclear. Ansar Al-Sharia has been banned by Tunisia’s Islamist-led government due to its recent involvement in anti-government riots, the assassination of opposition leaders Belaid and Brahmi, and the brutal murder of Tunisian soldiers in the Chaambi Mountains.
Edited By Susannah Knights