Tunisian security forces in deadly home raid

At least five women and one man killed in raid on villa in Oued Ellil, days before Sunday's parliamentary election.

    Five women and a man have been killed after Tunisian security forces stormed a house near Tunis after a day-long standoff, the interior ministry has said.

    Other adults and two children inside the house were taken to hospital after the raid in Oued Ellil, said interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui on Friday.

    The deaths marked the end of a 27-hour standoff that started on Thursday when police surrounded a home in the suburbs of Tunis and were shot at by those inside. One policeman died in the gunfire.

    Mohammed Ali Aroui, the interior minister, described all those killed as "terrorists" and said it was an isolated incident.

    Al Jazeera's Hashem Alelbarra, reporting from Oued Ellil, said: "According to the official account, one woman came out of the house and opened fire, and in that mayhem five of the women were killed."

    He said the government probably suspected those killed to be members of the Ansar al-Sharia armed group. "As far as the government is concerned, this is the group behind incidents like this," he said.

    Police initially did not enter the house, but on Friday entered the villa after issuing an ultimatum to two armed men inside.

    Power to the home was cut and security forces moved in after negotiations failed.

    The operation was part of a clampdown prior to Sunday's parliamentary election. There have been warnings by the government that "terrorists" would seek to disrupt the vote.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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