Tunisian opposition leader shot dead
TUNIS - Leading leftist opposition leader Chokri Belaid was shot dead Wednesday morning as he left his home in Tunis, said his family, which accused Tunisia's ruling Ennahda party of being behind the killing.
Belaid was head of the opposition Democratic Patriots party and a harsh critic of Tunisia's Islamist-led government.
"My brother was assassinated. I am desperate and depressed," Abdelmajid Belaid, brother of the dead leader, said.
"I accuse ... (Ennahda leader) Rached Ghannouchi of assassinating my brother," he said.
The wife of the opposition leader, speaking to Radio Mosaique, said he had been hit by two bullets as he left his home.
Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali denounced Belaid’s murder as an "act of terrorism" against Tunisia.
"This is a criminal act, an act of terrorism not only against Belaid but against the whole of Tunisia," Jebali from the ruling Islamist Ennahda party told FM Radio Mosaique, promising to pursue all efforts to "immediately" arrest the murderer.
Belaid's party was part of a coalition of parties which has emerged in opposition to the Tunisia government.
The country is witnessing a rise in violence fed by political and social discontent more than two years after the toppling of the former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Several opposition parties and trade unions have accused the pro-Islamists of orchestrating clashes or attacks against them.