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Tunisia kills Islamist 'terror' suspect

Tunisian police have shot dead a suspected Islamist militant and arrested several more, officials have said. Tunisia has been grappling with growing security threats as it deals with lingering political instability.

The terror suspect was shot dead by Tunisian special forces in a pre-dawn raid, the nation's interior ministry confirmed Sunday.

The interior ministry statement said the raid targeted a house in the southern Tunis suburb of Ouardia where a group of "key terror" suspects were hiding.

"One of the members of the group was eliminated in an exchange of fire, and four were arrested," the ministry said. It did not elaborate on the reason the suspects were targeted.

The push against suspected extremists comes almost two weeks after the assassination of opposition MP Brahmi, which authorities have blamed on an al-Qaeda-linked cell. He was the second anti-government politician to have been killed in Tunis since the murder of leftist politician Chokri Belaid in February.

It also comes amid rival protests across the country for and against the embattled Islamist-led coalition government. The opposition has demanded the resignation of the cabinet and the dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly.

Mass protests

Tens of thousands came out in support of the ruling Ennahda party in Tunis late on Saturday, in one of the biggest elections since the revolution. It prompted the opposition to call for a rival rally on Sunday. They also plan to hold a rally on Wednesday to mark the six month anniversary of Chokri Belaid's killing.

Tunisia, largely considered the cradle of the Arab Spring, had been considered a model for political transition.

Critics accuse the government of tolerating violence blamed on radical Islamists since the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

ccp/hc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)