Tunisia forces kill fighters planning Ramadan attack

Two men in an ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked group killed during a security sweep in Sidi Bouzid.

    Tunisian security forces are cracking down on groups they suspect of planning attacks [File: Reuters]
    Tunisian security forces are cracking down on groups they suspect of planning attacks [File: Reuters]

    A senior commander in an armed group blew himself up and another was shot dead during a raid by Tunisian security forces on Sunday.

    The men - suspected of having links with Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda's North Africa branch (AQIM) - were planning attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, according to a spokesman for Tunisia's national guard.

    The raid took place in Sidi Bouzid, a town 200km southwest of the capital, Tunis.

    Another three people were arrested and security forces were hunting for other suspects.

    The group had been under surveillance for weeks after communications about a possible attack were intercepted, National Guard spokesman Colonel-Major Khelifa Chibani said.

    READ MORE: Tunisian PM Chahed booed off stage in Tataouine

    "National Guard special forces killed two terrorists," he said. "They had been in the Sammama mountains and planned attacks during Ramadan." 

    Tunisia refuses to let ISIL-linked families leave Libya

    One was a commander with the ISIL and AQIM-linked group Okba Ibn Nafaa, he said.

    The commander "was hit and blew himself up", according to Chibani. 

    The other man killed was also wearing an explosives belt, but was shot dead before he could detonate it.

    Chibani did not give any details on the site of the alleged attack, but Tunisia has been on alert since gunmen hit the Sousse beach resort in 2015, killing more than 30 foreigners and badly damaging the vital tourist industry.

    ISIL has claimed most of the major attacks in Tunisia.

    Authorities say more than 3,000 Tunisians have left over the past few years to fight for ISIL and other armed groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Tunisian authorities are trying to prepare for potential security threats upon their return.

    Tunisia been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when a suicide bombing in Tunis claimed by ISIL killed 12 presidential guards.

    SOURCE: News agencies


    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.