NewsNorth AfricaTunisia and Algeria broaden war on Islamists


Posted on Monday, 16 November 2015 09:37

Tunisia and Algeria broaden war on Islamists

By Desmond Kokim

File Photo©ReutersAlgerian and Tunisian forces have upped a low-level conflict against Islamist militants operating on the Algerian-Tunisian border, officials have said.

Government forces killed three militants in clashes in the central Kasserine province. Sunday's clashes between militants and government forces resulted in the death of three Islamists and one Tunisian soldier.

Both Tunisia and Algeria have been fighting a low-level conflict against pockets of Islamists militants in rural areas.

According to reports, more than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamist militant groups in Syria, Iraq and neighbouring Libya. Some of those jihadists have threatened to return home and carry out attacks on Tunisian soil.

However, the fight against Islamists has been upgraded after militants beheaded a Tunisian teenager in the central province of Sidi Bouzid and sent his head to his family.

In March, Islamist militants killed 21 tourists in an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis. And in June, 38 foreigners were killed in a militant assault on a Sousse beach hotel.

Experts said the attackers had been trained in jihadist camps over the border in Libya, where chaos has allowed Islamist militants to grow in strength.

Tunisia has suffered from intermittent civil breakdown four years after ousting autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and inspiring the "Arab Spring" protests.

Despite a new democratic constitution and a freely-elected coalition government with secular and Islamist parties, the country still faces attacks from Islamists militants.

Islamic State militants have claimed two major attacks on foreign tourists this year in Tunisia.

Last week, US military killed a major Islamic State commander in an air strike on the Libyan city of Derna.

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