Tunisian man chased by police ‘blows himself up’

Tunisian special forces take up position in Ben Guerdane. Two Daesh suspects died following an action near the town. (Reuters)
Updated 19 March 2018
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Tunisian man chased by police ‘blows himself up’

TINIS: A Tunisian man “blew himself up” as he was being chased Monday by police in a border region near Libya and his companion was shot dead, the interior ministry said.
Spokesman Khalifa Chibani told AFP the National Guard had received information concerning “two male suspects” in the southern Ben Guerdane region.
They tracked them down in the Magroun area, a desert zone near a nature reserve, and tried to arrest them but “one of them blew himself up,” he said.
Chibani said both suspects wore explosive vests, and had currency from chaos-wracked Libya, grenades and ammunition. “It is probable that they were planning to go to Libya,” he told AFP.
He said they could be two jihadists sought by authorities over connections to the Jund Al-Khilafa group, Arabic for “Soldiers of the Caliphate,” which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group.
One of the suspects, he said, was armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and had opened fire on the police.
After an exchange of fire, security forces “shot dead the second terrorist,” the interior ministry said, adding that the National Guard and the army were searching the area.
He said an investigation had been opened and would determine if the first suspect who blew himself up had activated his explosives vest or if it blew up in the exchange of fire with the security forces.
Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has faced a jihadist insurgency responsible for the deaths of dozens of soldiers, police, civilians and foreign tourists.
Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when a suicide bombing in Tunis claimed by the IS killed 12 presidential guards.
Monday’s incident comes after a series of deadly operations in 2015 and two years after an IS offensive on the town of Ben Guerdane.
On March 7, 2016, jihadists launched brazen attacks on the town that killed 13 members of the security forces and seven civilians and also left 55 fighters dead.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed this month marked the anniversary of the Ben Guerdane attacks and said he wanted to “consecrate March 7 as a national day of victory against terrorism” and Ben Guerdane as “the town of victory against terrorism.”
Thousands of Tunisians have joined jihadist groups fighting in Iraq, Syria and neighboring Libya.


Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

Updated 23 September 2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

  • Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead
  • ‘No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force’

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the end of the month to leave.
The fate of Khan Al-Ahmar has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it.
Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead.
Israel says the village was built without the proper permits, though it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to receive such permission in that part of the West Bank.
The notice given to the some 200 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar on Sunday says they have until the end of the month to demolish the village themselves.
“Pursuant to a supreme court ruling, residents of Khan Al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank said.
It did not say what will happen if they refuse to do so. Village residents vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force.”
The village is located in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued settlement building in the area would eventually divide the West Bank in two, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.
Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan Al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.