Tunisia’s prime minister says the country’s patience has run out and that hardline Islamists who attacked police stations and liquor stores last week will be punished.
Hamadi Jebali’s television address late Wednesday was the sternest warning to date from a government led by moderate Islamists who have been cautious in confronting a surge in ultraconservative Islamist activity.
Last week in the towns of Sidi Bouzid and Jendouba, hardline Islamists known as Salafis firebombed liquor stores and police stations.
Jebali said it was time to put an end to such events and be firm with those believing they are charged by God to “purify society.”
More than a year ago, Tunisians ousted their longtime secular dictator. Jebali’s moderate Islamist party won elections in October, but it is allied with secular parties.