Nine police killed in attack in western Tunisia

The police unit, from Gar Dimaou in the region of Jendouba, had been ambushed, , state news agency TAP reported. (AFP)
Updated 08 July 2018
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Nine police killed in attack in western Tunisia

  • At least six killed as police unit in the region of Jendouba was ambushed during a regular patrol
  • Some militants operate in remote areas near the border with Algeria

TUNIS: At least six members of Tunisia’s security forces were killed Sunday in a “terrorist attack” near the border with Algeria, the interior ministry said, the country’s deadliest such incident in over two years.
A national guard border patrol in the Ain Sultan area of the Jenduba border province “was hit in a land mine ambush that killed six agents” at 11:45 am (1045 GMT), the ministry said in a statement.
Ministry spokesman General Sufyan Al-Zaq said the blast was a “terrorist attack” and that assailants had “opened fire on security forces” after the mine exploded.
“Combing operations” were underway, said Zaq, who had earlier told AFP that eight guards were killed in the attack.
No group has claimed the attack, which took place in a mountainous border area where the Al-Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion and the Tunisian branch of Daesh, Jund Al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), are active.
Sunday’s assault marks the first major attack in Tunisia since a March 2016 attack on security installations in the town of Ben Guerdane on the Libyan border.
That attack killed 13 security forces and seven civilians.
The latest incident comes as Tunisia is targeting its best tourist season since visitor numbers plummeted in the wake of a string of deadly terrorist attacks in 2015.
Tunisia’s tourism industry was devastated by those attacks, which included one at the National Bardo museum in Tunis and another targeting a beach resort in Sousse that together killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard.
In May, Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik said the industry had made a “real recovery.”
“People are coming back to Tunisia because there is security ... we are at the same level (of security) as any European city,” she said.
Since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, terrorist attacks in Tunisia have killed dozens of members of the security forces and foreign tourists.
Since Ben Ali’s fall, “at least 127 militants and 118 soldiers, national guardsmen, and police officers have been killed in the northwest,” according to figures compiled by analyst Matt Herbert and published in June by the Carnegie Endownment for International Peace.
“This new attack shows that there are still pockets where security problems have not been solved,” he told AFP on Sunday, while stressing “the vast majority of Tunisia remains safe.”
The country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when a Daesh-claimed suicide bombing in Tunis killed 12 presidential guards.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.