Results tagged “Tunisia”
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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.
The Interior Ministry announced the arrest of eight Islamist extremists from Libya who were planning to assassinate security officials and attack government institutions; the suspects had received explosives and weapons training in Libya. The Defense Ministry denied reports that US troops would be deployed in the desert near the Libyan border; yesterday the ministry said "military forces" had been deployed to secure the area near the Libyan border.
An army officer was wounded while defusing a mine in the Mount Chaambi area. Three people trying to enter Tunisia illegally from Libya were questioned; one said he intended to travel to Syria for "jihad" with an armed group. Interior Minister Jomaa announced plans for the creation of an antiterrorism office.
The sentence of Imed Dghij, head of the Islamist militia League for the Protection of the Revolution (LPR), was reduced to three months from 14. A group devoted to "saving Tunisians stranded abroad" said at least 1,900 Tunisians have been killed fighting in Syria, where Tunisians make up the largest foreign fighter group, followed by Libyans. He said Tunisians have joined the ranks of both the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. President Marzouki has offered amnesty for militants "without blood on their hands"; Algeria and Saudi Arabia have also offered amnesty to returning jihadists. Critics of the plan noted that Tunisia does not keep a database of fighters who have gone to Syria. Tunisian officials said Marzouki's plan is not yet enacted and would not apply to members of al Qaeda or Ansar al Sharia.
Visiting the restricted military zone of Mount Chaambi yesterday, President Marzouki offered to pardon those militants who do not have blood on their hands. The Army killed a wanted militant and wounded another in the Chaambi area on May 5. Riadh Chaiibi, a former leader of the Islamist Ennahda party and member of its shura council, announced that his new party, Al-Binaa Al-Watani, has obtained legal authorization.