14 Tunisian troops killed in mountain ambushes

2014-07-17 13:48
AFP

AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tunis - At least 14 Tunisian troops were killed when gunmen attacked checkpoints in the remote Chaambi mountains, the deadliest militant strike on the North African country's armed forces.

Since April, thousands of Tunisian soldiers have been deployed to the Chaambi range bordering Algeria in an operation to flush out al Qaeda-linked militants seeking refuge there, some since fleeing French intervention in Mali last year.

During the attack on Wednesday night, militants with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles ambushed checkpoints the military had set up to try to control the Chaambi region.

The gunmen attacked as the soldiers were breaking their fast for the evening during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Defence Ministry said. More than 20 soldiers were wounded.

Democracy

Tunisia has struggled with the rise of radical Islamist militants since the 2011 popular revolt ended the rule of autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and began its fragile steps towards democracy.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda's North Africa branch, has claimed attacks in Tunisia in the past, but another militant group, Ansar al Sharia, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Washington, has also been blamed.

The mountain range is tough terrain with access into Algeria. Tunisian forces conducted several raids there and have bombarded caves after eight soldiers were captured and killed last year.

Algeria's military, experienced in battling its own Islamist militancy, have been co-ordinating on their side of the frontier, especially with sharing intelligence.

Tensions

But despite their large presence, Tunisian troops have been harried by improvised landmines and the porous border complicates tracking militants who use the area as a training ground.

One of the Arab world's most secular states, Tunisia has taken steps towards democracy since the 2011 revolt. It adopted a new constitution and allowed a caretaker government to take over until elections this year as a way to ease tensions between a leading Islamist party and secular opponents.

But hardline ultra-conservative Islamists are still influential, and Tunisia is one of the main sources of jihadist fighters travelling from North Africa to fight with Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Last year a Tunisian man who had travelled to fight in Syria returned to carry out a suicide attack on a beach resort near the capital, killing only himself, but shocking a country that relies heavily on foreign tourism for revenue.

Tunisian officials also worry about arms and fighters spilling over from neighbouring Libya, where the weak government is unable to impose order on brigades of former rebels and militias still fighting since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi.
Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.