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Two Top Tunisian Officials Fired

April 27, 2002

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TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) _ Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fired his interior minister and the chief of national security on Saturday, the North African nation’s official news agency reported.

The TAP news agency gave no reason for the dismissals, but observers had suggested there might be a government fallout after an attack that killed 16 people at a Tunisian synagogue two weeks ago.

Interior Minister Abdallah Kaabi was replaced by Hedi M’henni, the minister for social affairs. Chedli Neffati, president of the country’s economic and social council, takes M’henni’s place.

The position held by Mohamed Ali Ganzoui, the No. 1 national security official, went to Mohamed Hedi Ben Hassine, a retired army general.

TAP announced the reshuffle after a meeting between the president and Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi. Kaabi and Ganzoui have been ``called to other duties,″ the agency said, without providing details.

Tunisian authorities believe the synagogue blast was carried out by a Tunisian citizen, Nizar Naouar, and an accomplice who also lived in the North African country. Naouar is believed to have died in the explosion.

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