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US condemns 'outrageous' Tunisia assassination

Mubarka Brahmi (C-R), wife of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi, mourns at the hospital outside Tunis, July 25, 2013
Mubarka Brahmi (C-R), the wife of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi, mourns at the hospital in Ariana, outside Tunis, after her husband was gunned down in front his home, near the capital, on July 25, 2013. The United States condemned the assassination

The United States on Thursday condemned the assassination of a leading critic of Tunisia's ruling Islamists, saying violence had no place in the country's transition to democracy.

Tunisian MP Mohamed Brahmi was shot dead outside his home Thursday in the second such slaying this year, with fingers again pointed at the authorities.

"We offer our sincere condolences to Mr. Brahmi's family, friends and colleagues and to the people of Tunisia," State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, adding US officials "strongly condemn" the killing.

"This is not the first political assassination since Tunisia's revolution, and there is no justification for such outrageous and cowardly acts in a democratic Tunisia," she said.

"Violence has no place in Tunisia's democratic transition."

Harf also urged the Tunisian authorities to immediately carry out a "transparent and professional investigation" to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"We call on all Tunisians to renounce violence and to express themselves peacefully. Violence will not resolve the issues Tunisians face," she added.

The Tunisian interior ministry, cited by the official TAP news agency, said the 58-year-old Brahmi, a vocal critic of Tunisia's ruling Islamists, was assassinated as he left home.

The February 6 assassination of Chokri Belaid, another opposition figure, sparked a political crisis in Tunisia and charges of government connivance.