Tunisia's Ennahda movement has accused supporters of President Kais Saied of attempting to assault its leader and Parliament Speaker, Rached Ghannouchi, as he was leaving a mosque in the capital, Tunis.
Earlier, local media outlets circulated a video of what they claimed to be Tunisians in the Malasin neighbourhood in the capital who had expelled Ghannouchi from a local mosque.
Ennahda, however, denied the reports, explaining that "a small group of individuals waited for Ghannouchi to leave the mosque in order to attempt to attack him" and then claimed to have expelled him from the area.
"This paid group came to perform a specific task for the benefit of a specific agenda, evidenced by the rapid transmission of false news in some local and Arab media outlets, whose number exceeded the number of members of the paid group, which has been employing fallacies and delusion to create a delusional public opinion in its continuous war on the choices of our people and its institutions, democracy and constitutionalism," Ennahda said in a statement.
According to the statement, a number of worshippers and local residents stopped the group and "expelled them from the area".
Meanwhile, Ghannouchi's assistant, Maher Al-Madhyoub, sent a letter to President Saied, asking why he had allowed a group to attack Ghannouchi's house, making him the first president in the history of Tunisia "to allow a handful of ignorant and hateful people to attack the home of a Tunisian citizen".
The Ennahda movement had earlier called on the Tunisian authorities to protect Ghannouchi and his family, after the defence team of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi called for a demonstration in front of his house.