The Tunisian Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion has released a new set of images on its official Twitter page. The pictures were then quickly disseminated by other jihadists.
The photos showcase a slew of weapons captured from clashes with the Tunisian military. In one picture, several Streyr AUG’s, the standard service rifle of the Tunisian military, are shown laid out before the viewer. One picture shows an FN Minimi light machine gun. Two pictures also detail a number of mortar tubes and rounds along with an M2 Browning machine gun. Thrown in with the weapons are copious amounts of ammunition.
The pictures were released along with a short message claiming responsibility for a few recent attacks in Tunisia. According to a translation from SITE Intelligence Group, the Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion claimed an attack on Tunisian soldiers in the Hanchir Ettala area in the Mount Chaambi region, as well as an attack on a military bus in Nebeur near Kef.
The Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion is named after the seventh century Arab general who initiated the conquest of the Maghreb, which includes Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Libya. In July, the battalion instigated an attack on the Tunisian military in the Chaambi Mountain region; the attack left 15 soldiers dead and 20 others wounded. It is thought that the group has also been behind several other attacks on Tunisian soldiers in recent months.
The Battalion is a joint venture between Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia has been listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department. It has also been added to the United Nations’ list of individuals and entities affiliated with al Qaeda. The battalion is headed by Khaled Chaieb, who is close to AQIM emir Abdelmalek Droukdel.
For more on Ansar al Sharia Tunisia and its al Qaeda connections, see LWJ reports:
- Al Qaeda ally orchestrated assault on US Embassy in Tunisia
- From al Qaeda in Italy to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia
- Tunisian government arrests al Qaeda cell tied to Ansar al Sharia
- Tunisian government: Ansar al Sharia is a terrorist organization
- State Department designates 3 Ansar al Sharia organizations, leaders,
- Al Qaeda and the threat in North Africa
- UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda
Pictures released by the Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion can be seen below:
Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.