Tunisia says foils plot to help ISIS win territory

(File, AFP)
(File, AFP)

Tunis - Tunisia said on Tuesday it had foiled a "terrorist plot" aimed at allowing Islamic State group jihadists to seize part of its territory.

Authorities had "uncovered a terrorist plot" targeting police and military units in the southern town of Ben Guerdane in a fresh bid to claim territory for ISIS, the interior ministry said in a statement.

In March last year, jihadists mounted a coordinated assault on security installations in the town on Tunisia's border with Libya, aiming to win over residents and establish an ISIS "emirate".

That attack cost the lives of seven civilians and 13 members of the security forces. Fifty-five assailants were killed.

The latest plot sought to "take advantage of social unrest... to help Daesh elements infiltrate our country in order to carry out terrorist attacks and try to seize security and military buildings," the ministry said, using an Arabic acronym for ISiS.

Five people were arrested, it added.

Since its 2011 revolution, which sparked the Arab Spring, Tunisia has seen a rise in jihadist activity.

In 2015 the North African country was the target of several IS attacks which 72 people were killed - 59 of them foreign tourists.

Tunisia has also seen widespread protests over the state's perceived failure to tackle poverty, unemployment and corruption.

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