Rebels kill 8 Tunisia troops near Algeria

Rebels kill 8 Tunisia troops near Algeria
Tue Jul 30, 2013 09:02:10

Militants have ambushed a Tunisian army patrol in a mountainous border region near Algeria, killing at least eight soldiers.

The attack was carried out in Jebel Chaambi, Tunisia's highest mountain at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), near the Algerian border and the city of Kasserine, the presidential spokesman Adnan Mancer said on Monday.

"An entire patrol carrying out a search operation in this mountainous region was decimated," said Mancer.

However, Mohammed Sghayer Hamzaoui,  an employee at the Kasserine hospital emergency unit, said that nine soldiers were killed and four were wounded in the attack.

Radio Mosaique FM also said that three of the dead had their throats cut and that the attackers made off with the soldiers' weapons.

On June 24,  Tunisian army had announced that Jebel Chaambi was cleared of militants after a two-month operation that cost three lives, wounded 27 people and set off almost a dozen road side bombs.

After soldiers in a patrol were injured in April, the military searched the area and discovered evidence suggesting an al-Qaida-linked movement supported by the local population had set up training camps in the area.

The Interior Ministry said the local militant group has named itself the Oqba Ibn Nafaa brigade, after the 7th century Arab warrior that conquered Tunisia. The group is said to consist of Tunisian recruits trained by veteran Algerian militants with links to al-Qaida and to be supported by Ansar al-Shariah, a local movement of ultraconservative Salafists.


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