Tunisia: 6 dead as police storm besieged house

Tunisian security forces check the identification card of a driver on October 15, 2014 in Kasserine.

Tunisian security forces check the identification card of a driver on October 15, 2014 in Kasserine.

Six people, including five women, were killed Friday when Tunisian security forces stormed a house where gunmen were locked in a standoff with police near the capital, the authorities said.

One gunman was among the dead while another was hospitalised along with two children who were inside the house, interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told reporters at the scene.

He said one of the children, a girl, had suffered a head injury but did not elaborate on their conditions.

“Special forces approached the kitchen where the terrorists were hiding,” Aroui said.

“The women came out of the kitchen firing,” he added, describing both the men and women at the house as “terrorists”.

A policeman was killed on Thursday in a firefight with the suspects and another was wounded.

The house in Oued Ellil, a suburb of Tunis, was surrounded earlier the same day following the arrest of two suspected militants in Kebili, 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of the capital.

The confrontation came as security was tightened in the lead-up to parliamentary elections on Sunday — the first since the nation’s revolution three years ago.

Officials say they plan to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers and police for the election, warning that “terrorist” elements are seeking to disrupt the vote.

Islamists suppressed under former strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali have proliferated since his overthrow in the 2011 uprising.

Militants have been blamed for a wave of attacks, including last year’s assassination of two leftist politicians whose murders plunged the country into a protracted political crisis.

 
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