Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Tunisia links two wanted jihadist groups to Al-Qaeda
by Staff Writers
Tunis (AFP) May 07, 2013

Tunisian authorities on Tuesday recognised that two jihadist groups which the army has been hunting on the Algerian border have links to Al-Qaeda, stressing their determination to take them out.

"There are two groups, one in the Kef region with around 15 people and the other in Mount Chaambi with around 20 people," interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told reporters, referring to the groups being pursued by the army since last week.

"There is a connection between the two groups, and the one in the Chaambi region has ties with the Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, which is linked to Al-Qaeda."

"We will respond militarily to anyone who takes up arms against the state," Aroui added.

Since the revolution in January 2011 that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has seen a sharp rise in the activity of radical Islamist groups that were suppressed under the former dictator.

Those groups have been blamed for a wave of violence, notably an attack on the US embassy last September and the assassination of a leftist opposition leader in February, cases which the ruling Islamist party Ennahda has sought to portray as isolated incidents.

The jihadists hiding out in the remote Mount Chaambi region are blamed for an attack on a border post in December that killed a member of the national guard.

The army says there have been no direct clashes with the group, but homemade explosive devices they have place in the area have so far wounded 16 members of the security forces involved in the hunt, five of who lost legs.

Explosives, coded documents, maps and mobile phones were discovered at a camp used by the group, and the army troops has been using mortar fire to try to demine the area.

Aroui said the Chaambi fighters were from "neighbouring countries," notably Algeria, while army sources on the ground have said some were veteran Islamist militants who fought in northern Mali.

"They wanted to make Chaambi their base, but we have dismantled it and they no longer have a refuge," said army spokesman Mokhtar Ben Nasr, adding that a search for the second group was launched on Tuesday in Kef, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) to the north.

"An extensive search is underway in the Kef and Jendouba mountains," also close to the Algerian border, Ben Nasr said, without elaborating.

Tunisia and Algeria share a long, porous border which is often used by smugglers, and the army spokesman said the two countries were cooperating in the hunt for the jihadists.

Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki went to meet the troops involved in the search operations on Tuesday, according to his office.

"We are currently experiencing a crisis that requires a national effort," Marzouki's spokesman Adnene Manser told reporters.

"We need to have confidence in our army and give it strong support in combating this threat," he said.

Tunisia's opposition has strongly criticised the government for failing to catch the jihadists, accusing it of recognising the threat they pose too late, despite the problems they have caused, and condemning the poorly-equipped state of the armed forces.

In December, the authorities announced the arrest of 16 militants belonging to the Okba Ibn Nafaa brigade, described as a cell of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM ), in Tunisia's Kasserine region, where Mount Chaambi is located.

But they had not until now confirmed a link between those arrested and the "terrorist group" holed up in the Chaambi region that the security forces have been tracking since the deadly December attack on the border post.

The government has in recent months warned of jihadists linked to AQIM infiltrating Tunisia's borders and undermining its stability, especially since their occupation of northern Mali last year.

Bolstering those concerns, a leader of Al-Qaeda's north Africa affiliate urged Muslims worldwide to attack French interests in retaliation for France's military intervention in Mali, in a video recorded last month and posted online. There are an estimated 30,000 French citizens living in Tunisia.


Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Outside View: What 9/11 is telling us years later
Herndon, Va. (UPI) May 7, 2013
To those Muslims looking to expand Islam's global reach, symbolism is very important. In the weeks after 9/11, photographs circulated within the Muslim world of the New York skyline, its normally dominant World Trade Center replaced with photo-shopped mosques, identifiable by their prominent domes and minarets. The depiction represented an Islamic conquest on U.S. soil, providing ... read more

U.S. seeks $220 million for Israel missile defense

Pentagon requests more funding for Israel's 'Iron Dome'

Lockheed Martin PAC-3 Missile Intercepts and Destroys Tactical Ballistic Missile in New Test

Japan's missile defence plan: some facts

Syria: Israel blasts Hezbollah's missile chain

Lockheed Martin's Nemesis Missile Scores 3-For-3 in Flight Tests

Guam heightens alert level after N. Korea threats

US warns N. Korea ahead of expected missile launch

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Conduct First Arrested Landing of X-47B Unmanned Demonstrator

Outside View: Drones: Say it with figures

ESA-EDA Flight Demonstration On Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Insertion Into Civil Airspace

Israel builds up its war robot industry

Department of Defense looking to allow Apple, Samsung devices

DARPA Seeks Clean-Slate Ideas For Mobile Ad Hoc Networks

Astrium's secure milsatcoms now cover the world

Gilat to Equip IDF with SatTrooper-1000 Military Manpack

Files posted online to 'print' working handgun

Northrop Grumman Selected to Complete JCREW I1B1 Development

DARPA Announces Winner of the First FANG Challenge

Elbit To Supply African Nation With Wise Intelligence Technology System

Pentagon plans to cut civilian workforce

South Africa government in crisis over wedding scandal

S.African diplomat suspended over Indian plane scandal

South Korea opts for Boeing's Apache

Beijing says US defence report hypes China threat

US shift to Asia on track despite budget cuts: admiral

India, China begin withdrawing troops from border

Japan never had smooth ties with China: deputy PM Aso

Going negative pays for nanotubes

Researchers develop unique method for creating uniform nanoparticles

Dark field imaging of rattle-type silica nanorattles coated gold nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo

'Super-resolution' microscope possible for nanostructures

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement