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Tunisia (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Government is Dissolved After Murder of Opposition Leader

See also Syria Live Coverage: The Insurgents Attack Inside Damascus
Wednesday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: France to Withdraw in March After Successful Military Operations?

1855 GMT: Palestine. A boy in his the rubble of his home, destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer:

1855 GMT: Palestine. A boy in his the rubble of his home, destroyed by an Israeli bulldozer:

1755 GMT: Palestine. A Palestinian court has sentenced a West Bank man, Anas Awwad, to a year in jail for "cursing the President" on Facebook.

Awwad's father said his son --- commenting on a picture of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas kicking a soccer ball during his visit to Barcelona Football Club in 2011 --- wrote, "The new striker in Real Madrid".

1725 GMT: Egypt. Beyond President Ahmadinejad's rhetorical flourish that he wants a regional partnership with Cairo, some significant moments in the Egyptian coverage of the President's trip, courtesy of Joanna Paraszczuk....

Al-Masry Al-Youm led on Thursday morning with YouTube video of an interview with Syrian citizen Ezz el-Din Gasem, who threw a shoe at Ahmadinejad as the President visited the Imam Hussein Mosque.

Gasem, an Aleppo native who came to Egypt in 2004, vowed that if he saw Ahmadinejad again in any country, anywhere in the world, he would "do the same again". He said he trie to beat Ahmadinejad with an item of footwear because he is "aware that Presidents --- such as [former US President George W.] Bush and others --- see the shoe as a "symbol of humiliation".

The Egyptian media, always alert to Israeli press reactions, highlighted an opinion piece by Tel Aviv University professor Eyal Zisser in the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom. Zisser claimed that Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt was a failure, with the President and his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi failing to repair diplomatic ties: "Ahmadinejad's visit is a swan song. He will disappear from our lives in a few months."

In its commentary on the item, Al-Ahram noted Zisser's remark wrote that "Morsi also knows to safeguard the relationship and coordination between Egyptian and Israeli security forces", which it said prevented further convergence between Tehran and Cairo.

Al-Ahram reported on the tripartite meeting between Ahmadinejad, Morsi, and Turkish President Abdullah Gül on the sidelines of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit. Morsi's spokesman Yasser Ali said Egypt's firm position is to end the bloodshed in Syria and enable the Syrian people to manage their country without external interference. Ali added that Syria's reconstruction would require considerable efforts from the international community.

In an interview broadcast on Egyptian State TV late Wednesday, and widely reported throughout the Arab world, Ahmadinejad said Iran's allies in Syria should open talks with the opposition over free elections.

1545 GMT: Egypt. Police have deployed security at the homes of prominent opposition politicians after a hardline cleric called on television for their deaths.

The cleric, Mahmoud Shaaban, said leaders of the opposition coalition National Salvation Front would get a death sentence under the Islamic legal system of sharia.

He specifically mentioned Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and former Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy.

The statements were denounced by Islamists and leftists across the political spectrum.

"The Muslim Brotherhood condemns calls allowing bloodshed and inciting killing, whatever their source," spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said.

Prime Minister Hisham Kandil said on his Facebook page the Cabinet was looking into legal steps it could take against "all those who issue or spread edicts or fatwas inciting violence".

1515 GMT: Yemen. President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has asked Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to stop backing armed groups in Yemen, weeks after the Yemeni Coast Guards seized a consignment of missiles and rockets allegedly from the Islamic Republic.

Iran has denied any connection to the weapons, found aboard a vessel off the coast on 23 January in an operation coordinated with the US Navy.

Government official Abdel-Rashid Abdel Hafez gave no further details of Hadi's message.

1455 GMT: Tunisia. Besma Khalfaoui, the widow of assassinated Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid, makes a V for victory sign during a street demonstration on Wednesday, hours after her husband was shot:

1445 GMT: Tunisia. Police and razor wire at the Ministry of Interior this afternoon --- earlier, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters:

1435 GMT: Tunisia. Back from a lengthy academic break to find leaders of the country's largest trade union announcing a general strike on Friday, to protest against the killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid,

Reports indicate that teachers, lawyers, and judges are on strike today.

0750 GMT: Tunisia. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has announced the dissolution of the Government,  following the killing of opposition leader Chokri Belaid in front of his home.

In a speech to the nation last night, Jebali said that he will form a cabinet of technocrats to run the country until elections are held.

Belaid, leader of the left-leaning Democratic Patriots Party, was shot dead in the suburbs of Tunis. Following the announcement of his death, thousands protested in the capital and in Sidi Bouzid, the symbolic catalyst for the start of the uprising against the Ben Ali regime in December 2010.

In Tunis, police clashed with Belaid's supporters along the main Habib Borguiba Avenue, using tear gas and batons to disperse the marchers and making numerous arrests.

Earlier, mourners chanted, "The people want the fall of the regime" as they accompanied an ambulance carrying Belaid's body.

Four Tunisian opposition groups --- including the Popular Front coalition which includes the Democratic Patriots --- announced they were pulling out of the National Assembly and called for a general strike.

Belaid had been critical of Tunisia's leadership, especially the Islamist party Ennahda that is the leading force in  the Government. e had accused authorities of not doing enough to stop violence by Salafists, conservative Islamists who have targeted mausoleums, art exhibits and other activities and sites they see as anti-Islamic.

President Moncef Marzouki, who cut short a visit to France on Wednesday, told legislators at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, "We will continue to fight the enemies of the revolution."

The President also cancelled his trip to Egypt, scheduled for Thursday.

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