Jews pray in a Tunisian synagogue 370 (R).
(photo credit: Anis Mili / Reuters)
TUNIS - Tunisian security forces arrested four people for
allegedly plotting to kidnap local Jews and hold them for ransom, an Interior
Ministry official said on Thursday.
There are less than 2,000 Jews in
Tunisia, mostly living in Zarzis and the nearby island of Djerba in the south of
"The security forces aborted a plan to kidnap young Jews in
Zarzis. Police arrested four young men and seized two weapons," the official,
Lofi Hidouri, told Reuters.
Perez Trabelsi, head of the Jewish community
in Djerba, said a policeman was among the four arrested.
"There is a big
worry in Djerba and Zarzis. The government should provide us with more
protection," Trablesi said.
An "intimidation campaign" was underway to
force Jews to leave Tunisia, he said.
"This our country, we will not
leave it", he added.
Tunisia, whose authoritarian president, Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali, was overthrown in a street revolt in January 2011, now has an
elected Islamist-led government.
Friction has grown between Islamists and
secularists, with hardline Salafi Muslims clashing with police in street
A few weeks after Ben Ali fled Tunisia, a synagogue in the city
of Ghabes was set alight.
No one was hurt and the incident appeared to be
isolated, but it revived memories of an al-Qaida attack in 2002 that killed 21
tourists after an explosive-laden truck Blew up near a synagogue in Djerba.