Results tagged “Tunisia”
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Security forces arrested over 60 suspected militants in raids in Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, and El Kef, including Makram Mouelhi, 34, head of an armed terrorist group in Garn Halfaya. In a crackdown on militant Islam, the government ordered the closure of all mosques not regulated by the government, as well as those mosques where celebrations were held following the killing of 15 soldiers in Jebel Chaambi on July 16. Sixteen people, including extremists, were arrested for celebrating the attack on the soldiers. Unknown assailants opened fire on a military equestrian club in Kasserine.
The Tunisian military announced that 14 soldiers were killed and 23 were wounded in attacks by two terrorist teams on military checkpoints on Mount Chaambi; one terrorist was killed. The death toll is reportedly the highest since the military's formation in 1956. The Okba Ben Nafaa Brigade has claimed the attack; Tunisian authorities have said the group is linked to both Ansar al Sharia and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. On July 15, over 12 Zintani fighters wounded from clashes with Islamist forces at Tripoli airport crossed over for medical treatment in Sfax city.
Security forces in Aouina and Sidi Bouzid uncovered a terrorist network that smuggles hunting guns from Libya into Tunisia. The Interior Ministry is seeking to arrest three suspected terrorists: Tunisian national Hichem Ben Mohamed Ben Abderrazzek Berrebeh, and Algerian citizens Khaled Hamadi Chaied and Mohamed Amine Mahkouka. Arrest warrants have been issued for six of some 20 jihadists said to have fought in Syria with the ISIS. On July 11, a returned jihadist told a court he had gone to Syria at the bidding of Bilel Chaouachi, a Salafist imam whom authorities recently questioned about his call for allegiance to the Islamic State's Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
Police and Salafists clashed in Kef. Following the Hizb ut-Tahrir party's June conference on "Establishment of the Caliphate and Removal of Colonialism," Prime Minister Jomaa accused the group of calling for violence and failing to respect the values of the republic. Citizens had demanded action against Hizb ut-Tahrir after its leader branded a leading Tunisian intellectual as an infidel. Interior Minister Jeddou said in June that about 2,400 Tunisian youth have traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham or the Al Nusrah Front, up from the roughly 1,800 Tunisians said to be in Syria in April. Jeddou also claimed that the government has prevented 8,800 Tunisians from traveling to Syria for jihad.
The government raised the terrorism alert level following the recent deaths of 10 soldiers in two landmine explosions in El Kef. The army launched an operation in the Mount Ouergha area of El Kef yesterday. Four Islamist extremists faced charges on July 5 in Bizerte for violating the law on mosques.
Following the death of six security forces in a landmine blast yesterday, four more soldiers were killed by a landmine today in Ksar el-Gallel in Kef. The military claimed to have destroyed a hideout for terrorist groups in Mount Ouergha and to be actively searching for the "terrorist elements." A young man died in a landmine explosion yesterday near Sbeitla by the Mount Sammama closed military zone. The Foreign Ministry released a statement purporting to "clarify the circumstances" regarding the recent release of two kidnapped Tunisian diplomats held in Libya by Ansar al Sharia, but the statement failed to disclose information about the kidnappers or whether their demands for the release of jailed Libyan Islamist militants had been met.
Kidnapped Tunisian diplomats Mohamed Ben Cheikh and Aroussi Gontassi returned to Tunisia on June 29; they were held by Ansar al Sharia, which had been demanding the release of two Libyan Islamist militants held in Tunisian prisons. Tunisian officials denied that any "Libyan terrorists" had been released but said they had information about the kidnappers which they could not disclose. Four soldiers and two National Guardsmen were injured when their vehicle drove over a landmine during a security sweep in Kef. Border officials at Ras Jedir seized nine shotguns hidden in the gas tank of a car driven by two Tunisians returning from Libya.
A video surfaced showing Tunisian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Mouhamadi participating in the mass execution of Iraqi troops by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Interior Minister Jeddou recently said that some 2,400 Tunisian jihadists are fighting in Syria, most of them in ISIS or in al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front. On June 24 a Tunisian and a Libyan were arrested at the Dhiba border post carrying weapons and ammunition. Border agents at Ras Jedir arrested a man entering Tunisia from Libya in possession of a pistol and electric shock devices last week.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb issued a statement claiming the May 27 attack on the Kasserine home of Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou; the terror group denounced the government for banning Ansar al Sharia, and threatened further attacks against Jeddou, whom it blamed for comments on "sexual jihad." A roadside bomb injured two people in Kasserine in June 11.
Security forces found a terrorist group's gun-making workshop today in Ghardimou in Jendouba and arrested a member of the group. Yesterday the army said it had found an Ansar al Sharia hideout in the Ain Draham cave in Jendouba; it was being used by a 10-member cell headed by Faicel Dellai, the terror group's emir for Jendouba, El Kef, and Kasserine. On June 4, the National Guard confiscated 50 military uniforms from a van on the road between Sidi Bouzid and Meknassi.
A group of 15 to 20 terrorists armed with machine guns attacked the home of Interior Minister Jeddou in Kasserine on the night of May 27, killing four security guards and injuring three more. Jeddou was away at the time. The day before, a Tunis court had ordered the dissolution of the League for Protection of the Revolution (LPR) and all of its 20-some branches; the Islamist group, formed in 2012, has been blamed for attacks on journalists, politicians, and civic organizations. The militants who attacked Jeddou's home are thought to be from Mount Chaambi and to have links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. On May 23, the Interior Ministry published photos of 19 wanted terrorists.
Two soldiers were killed and four more injured by a land mine on Mount Chaambi. The incident occurred as a convoy was traveling in a closed military zone where security forces have been hunting members of Ansar al Sharia and allied terrorist groups for months.