Tunisia's presidential contenders downplay rebel threats

With fears that there are attempts to spoil the consensus, both presidential contenders have downplayed the threats from from ISIL members saying that the Tunisian people will not be intimidated by these threats.

Tunisia's presidential contenders downplay rebel threats

World Bulletin / News Desk

Tunisia's two presidential contenders have downplayed recent threats by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group to stage attacks in Tunisia ahead of this weekend's run-off polls.

"There are attempts to spoil consensus in Tunisia between Islamists and seculars in an attempt to undermine Sunday's election," Anwar al-Gharbi, deputy head of presidential candidate Moncef Marzouki's electoral campaign, told The Anadolu Agency on Friday.

Al-Gharbi's comments came in response to a recent video broadcast on ISIL-affiliated websites, in which a militant claimed responsibility for the assassination of leftist Tunisian politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi last year.

The militant, believed by observers to be Abu Bakr al-Hakim who is wanted by Tunisian authorities on terrorism-related charges and who recently swore allegiance to the ISIL, vowed that the group will stage more assassinations in Tunisia.

"We are certain that the Tunisian people who have rejected all forms of violence will strongly participate in the election despite such desperate attempts to spoil the electoral process," al-Gharbi said.

For its part, the electoral campaign of Beji Caid Essebsi, Marzouki's rival, also dismissed the ISIL's threats.

"Those who are behind this video are trying to intimidate Tunisians ahead of the election but with their will, the Tunisian people will resist such organizations," Mahmoud al-Baroudi, a campaigner for Essebsi, told AA.

In a 7-minute video broadcast on Wednesday, the ISIL claimed that the December 21 polls were "un-Islamic".

The presidential election is the first to be held in Tunisia following the 2011 uprising that ended the autocracy of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The authenticity of the video could not be verified.

ISIL has overrun vast territories in both Iraq and Syria, prompting the United States and its allies to launch a massive air campaign against the militant group.

Within the last several months, Tunisia has witnessed a spike in attacks on police and army personnel.

A July attack on Tunisian troops in the restive Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border left 14 soldiers dead.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Aralık 2014, 13:49