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US general warns of al-Qaida threat in Tunisia

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March 27, 2013 06:31 AM EST | AP

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TUNIS, Tunisia — The chief of the U.S. Africa Command has warned about al-Qaida attempts to gain a foothold in Tunisia.

Gen. Carter Ham told Tunisian radio late Tuesday that "it is very clear to me that al-Qaida intends to establish a presence in Tunisia."

The North African nation of 10 million was the birthplace of the 2011 pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings and has since seen a rise in radical Islamic movements.

Ham said that following talks with the government, which is led by moderate Islamists, he is convinced it is "committed to doing everything it can to prevent al-Qaida from establishing a presence."

Ham, who took over Africa Command in March 2011 and is stepping down, was on a regional tour that included visits to southern Algeria and Libya.