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

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.


Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

Updated 15 September 2019

Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

ALGIERS: Algeria — whose president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April following mass protests — is to hold a presidential election on December 12, his interim successor announced Sunday.

"I have decided... that the date of the presidential election will be Thursday, December 12," said Abdelkader Bensalah, who is precluded from standing himself, in a televised address.

The announcement comes after army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, seen as the strongman in Algeria since the fall of Bouteflika, insisted that polls be held by the end of this year, despite ongoing protests demanding the creation of new institutions ahead of any elections.