KUBN claims killing of Tunisian soldier

Following an attack on Tunisian soldiers earlier this month, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) branch in Tunisia, the Uqba bin Nafi Battalion (KUBN), claimed responsibility for another set of IED’s in Tunisia’s Mount Chaambi region on Saturday.

“The Chaambi company belonging to the Uqba bin Nafi Battalion managed to detonate an IED on a Turkish, Israeli-made armored vehicle KIRPI in the Mount Chaambi region on Friday, April 26,” KUBN’s statement begins.

The jihadist group claims to have killed and wounded several Tunisian troops, but local media has reported that one soldier was killed while three others were wounded in the ambush.

The operation was reportedly in response to the killing of a KUBN militant, identified as Abu Musab al Tunisi, in Nebeur, Tunisia, on April 23.

Much like KUBN’s claim earlier this month, a follow-up IED on responding troops was also reported by the jihadist group. “After about an hour, another group of soldiers tried to intervene to evacuate the area, but God enabled a second IED to be detonated upon them,” the statement reads.

The al Qaeda group then claims to have damaged a Tunisian military Black Hawk helicopter that was also responding to the scene, but this has not been reported in local media.

This is KUBN’s second attack this month, following an April 17 ambush on Tunisian soldiers in the same area. While the jihadist group says that its men were able to kill Tunisian troops, local media has disputed this. These two claims now tie the amount of KUBN attacks reported in all of 2018.

Last year, it claimed an IED in the Mount Chaambi region in October, which killed two Tunisian soldiers and wounded five others. While in July 2018, it reported another IED near Ghardimaou close to the Algerian border which killed six Tunisian security personnel.

KUBN has remained a small, but persistent threat against Tunisian security despite the country making significant gains against the group. Several senior leaders have been killed in recent years, including officials sent to KUBN by AQIM to help reorganize the organization. Other raids and operations conducted against KUBN have done considerable harm on the group’s overall effectiveness.

Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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