‘Terrorist’ ambush kills 14 Tunisian soldiers
A “terrorist” attack on two military checkpoints killed 14 Tunisian soldiers and wounded several others, in the Mount Chaambi region near the border with Algeria, the defense ministry announced early Thursday.
“The new toll from the clashes with the terrorist groups is four dead in the ranks of the national army,” ministry spokesman Rachid Bouhoula told Agence France-Presse, adding that one of the assailants was killed.
The clashes took place Wednesday evening, as “two terrorist groups attacked two national army posts with machineguns and RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] around 7:40 pm [18:40 GMT],” Bouhoula said.
The army has been conducting an operation to flush out Islamist militant fighters, the TAP state news agency said.
Not the first
Last July, Tunisian soldiers were ambushed in the same region, where the army was hunting down a group reportedly linked to al-Qaeda.
Eight soldiers were killed in last year’s attack, which took place after the assassination of opposition politician Mohammad Brahmi in Tunis.
The assassination caused a political crisis in the North African country.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility, for the first time, for recent attacks in Tunisia. These included an assault on the home of the interior minister last May.
No group has claimed responsibility for Wednesday’s attack yet.