Middle East Round Up – Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Iraq
17 Tunisian troops killed in ambushes
TUNIS — At least 17 Tunisian troops were killed when gunmen attacked checkpoints in the remote Chaambi mountains, the deadliest militant strike on the North African country’s armed forces. Since April, thousands of Tunisian soldiers have been deployed to the Chaambi range bordering Algeria in an operation to flush out Al-Qaeda-linked militants seeking refuge there, some since fleeing French intervention in Mali last year. During the attack on Wednesday night, militants with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles ambushed checkpoints the military had set up to try to control the Chaambi region. The gunmen attacked as the soldiers were breaking their fast for the evening during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Defence Ministry said. More than 20 soldiers were wounded
Turkey’s ‘youngest novelist’ dies
ISTANBUL — A Turkish teenager who won fame as a fantasy novelist has died in a mysterious fall from an Istanbul balcony which police are investigating as a possible suicide, reports said Thursday. Eren Demir, 16, earned renown at the age of 12 with his fantasy novel “Kristal Kilic” (“The Crystal Sword”) and Turkish media dubbed him as the second youngest novelist anywhere in the world. Demir was talking to one of his friends on the phone when he plunged 10 floors to his death on Tuesday night from his house in Atakoy, an upscale residential area on the European side of the city.
The young man died on the spot, Hurriyet newspaper reported. Police — who found Demir’s destroyed cell phone by his body — were investigating the circumstances surrounding the death which they suspect could be suicide, it added. Demir’s parents, both prominent Turkish psychiatrists, were not at home when their son died. Demir was a 9th grade student at Uskudar American Academy, one of the most academically rigorous private high schools in Istanbul.
Gunmen attack Yemen police camp
ADEN — Gunmen have killed two Yemeni police in an attack on a camp for anti-riot forces in the central province of Baida, an Al-Qaeda stronghold, an official said Thursday. The assailants on board two vehicles fired machineguns at the camp in the town of Rada late on Wednesday, and on-duty policemen shot back at them, said the regional government official. “Two policemen were killed and a third was wounded” in the clash, he said, adding the assailants fled after failing to storm the camp. The official was unable to say if there were any casualties among the attackers.
Female lawmaker assassinated in Libya
CAIRO — A Libyan security official says a female lawmaker in the outgoing parliament has been killed in a restive eastern city known as a stronghold of extremists. The official says unknown assailants sprayed bullets at Fareha Al-Barqawi near a gas station in the eastern city of Darna. Al-Barqawi was a member of a liberal-leaning political bloc in Libya’s outgoing parliament. Her husband was a longtime political prisoner under deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi. The official didn’t provide further details and spoke on condition of anonymity for fear for his own safety.
Iraq forces repel militant attack
KIRKUK — Iraqi security forces repelled an insurgent attack on a northern Shiite Turkmen town, killing 15 militants, an official said on Thursday. The attack by the Islamic State (IS) insurgents and allied extremists on the town of Amirli took place on Wednesday, said Talib Al-Bayati, an official from the nearby town of Suleiman Bek. “Iraqi forces, with the help of military aircraft, repelled an attack on Amirli on three sides and killed 15 gunmen, according to an initial toll,” said Bayati. Amirli lies to the south of Suleiman Bek, which fell to an IS-led onslaught that swept parts of Iraq’s north and west last month. Meanwhile, a bomb hidden in a wooden cart exploded near a Shiite mosque in one of Baghdad’s largest markets Thursday, killing at least four people, officials said.
The Shorja Market is a sprawling open air emporium and one of the most popular places for residents of the Iraqi capital to buy foodstuffs, clothes and electronics.