Beheaded Tunisian shepherd's brother killed: reports

2017-06-04 10:01


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Tunis - The brother of a shepherd whose beheading by jihadists outraged Tunisia has himself been found dead after being abducted, media reports and the defence minister's spokesperson said on Saturday.

Khalifa Soltani was kidnapped on Friday in the Mount Mghilla area, and a security sweep recovered his body after a "terrorist group" announced his abduction, Belhassen Oueslati told AFP.

Oueslati did not provide further details about the victim, but media reports said he was the brother of Mabrouk Soltani, a 16-year-old shepherd who was decapitated on November 13, 2015.

The Tunisian branch of the Islamic State group, Jund al-Khilafa (soldiers of the caliphate), claimed that killing, accusing the boy of betraying their movements to the army.

Although the circumstances of the latest death are not yet known, his killing comes less than a week after a top jihadist was shot and six others arrested in the central Kasserine region's Mount Salloum area near the border with Algeria.

The interior ministry said on Tuesday the six belonged to "sleeper cells" of Jund al-Khilafa.

It also said the jihadist killed on Sunday had belonged to the Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion which is linked to Al-Qaeda, and not to IS as it had previously said.

Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and 59 foreign tourists.

The country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when a suicide bombing in Tunis claimed by IS killed 12 presidential guards.

Read more on:    tunisia  |  north africa

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