Yesterday’s ambush was the highest death toll in a terrorist attack in the country since the Islamic State’s foray into Ben Gardane in March 2016.
Yesterday’s claim was just the second released by the group this year. However, al Qaeda Tunisian branch has continued to harass both the local security forces and the local population.
AQIM’s Uqba bin Nafi battalion claimed an IED blast on Tunisian troops close to the Algerian border. This is the second claim in two months for the jihadist group.
The Defense Department has confirmed that Boubaker al-Hakim, a French-Tunisian Islamic State leader, was killed in Raqqa, Syria on Nov. 26. Al-Hakim had ties to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-affiliated group, before defecting to the Islamic State’s cause. He admittedly assassinated one Tunisian politician in 2013 and knew the assailants responsible for a second slaying.
The claim marks the first group’s first attack since July and an earlier ambush in March.
The Tunisian state continues to face a jihadist threat from both the Kasserine region and what is emanating from the Libyan border.
The Islamic State has claimed three attacks in the North African country. The latest, a suicide bombing, was intended to show that Tunisia is not safe, according to the jihadist group.
While Tunisia has made claims the Uqba bin Nafi battalion has been defeated, the al Qaeda group remains a threat to the country’s security.