Tunisian leader sparks outrage by claiming ‘Zionist movement’ behind naming of storm that battered Libya
The leader of Tunisia, President Kais Saied, has sparked condemnation and outrage after claiming that the naming of a storm that battered both Tunisia and Libya was the result of a “Zionist movement”.
The storm, named Alex, caused severe destruction in both Tunisia and Libya over the last few days, with dozens of people killed and hundreds injured. During a speech addressing those affected, President Saied reportedly claimed that the name of the storm was chosen “because of what is happening in Palestine and in our region” and “because of the strong power of the Zionist movement, which produces international decisions”.
The remarks have met with strong condemnation from many in Tunisia and the greater region. The Tunisian network of independent journalists and the UGTT trade union described them as “very inappropriate” and accused the president of trying to distract attention from the government’s failure to adequately prepare for the storm. Several other social media users have echoed the sentiment, and many have demanded that the President apologise for his remarks.
The allegations of a Zionist conspiracy have also received criticism from international organisations, such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the US State Department. In a statement, they said they were deeply concerned by the reports, and called on the president to respect “the principle of neutrality and the right of everyone to enjoy freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”
It remains to be seen how President Saied will respond to the criticisms leveled against him, however, it is clear that his comments have sparked controversy and condemnation.