Tunisian authorities have said they dismantled the media arm of Ansar al-Shariah, the group deemed largely responsible for facilitating the September 11, 2012 attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
The media outfit was led by a woman, Tunisian authorities stated.
The Interior Ministry statement read: “The dismantled cell was headed by a woman named Fatima al-Zawwaghi; she was responsible for coordinating operations and is directly linked to the organization’s leader Seif Allah bin Hussein – known as About Iyadh.”
Ansar al-Shariah Flag
Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali al-Arwi said that Zawwaghi is a former Al Qaeda operative who has engaged in jihad in Afghanistan. He continued, “Zawwaghi is a very dangerous woman who works in planning and cooperation between various terrorism parties.” He added, “It is the first time a woman leader is revealed in the group, and there is another woman-leader actively operating inside the cell, named Hayat al-Omari.”
She “worked on recruiting young people online and enrolling them in the ranks of terrorists located in Jebel ech Chambi,” Arwi added.
The ministry spokesperson said Tunisian police apprehended sixteen jihadis suspected to be members of Ansar al-Shariah. Twelve of them have been detained and four were released without charges, Al Arabiya reported.
Tunisian authorities suspect that the jihadi group is planning future strikes on “prominent media and political figures.”