Tunisia arrests Salafis in car with explosives - agency

Tunis Sat Dec 8, 2012 2:43pm GMT

Tunis (Reuters) - Tunisian security forces arrested two Salafi Islamists on the border with Algeria in a car full of maps, military costumes and materials for making explosives, the official news agency said on Saturday.

Two others in the vehicle stopped in the town of Fernana on Friday night managed to flee, TAP news agency said.

Tunisia's Islamist-led government has faced conflict between liberals and Salafis, who follow a puritanical interpretation of Islam, since an uprising toppled autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

The country, whose economy has been hit by euro zone woes, has been tense for two weeks as police fought with protesters seeking jobs and development in the town of Siliana.

Islamists clashed with unionists in Tunis last week. Western countries, worried about the spread of al Qaeda in north African and Sahel states, are backing the government, in which the Ennahda party rules with two centre-left partners.

(Reporting By Tarek Amara; editing by Jason Webb)

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