Tunisia: One terrorist killed in gun battle with jihadists in Sidi Bouzid
Tunisian National Guard forces Sunday trashed one terrorist in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid in a gunfire exchange with a group of jihadists holing up in a building.
Another jihadist blew himself up on the second floor of the building during the raid, reports say.
The terrorists hid in the building as forces tried to nab them, National Guard official spokesperson Col. Major Khalifa Chibani told media.
The operation, which lasted for over four hours, ended with the arrest of four terrorists.
The security official said no casualty has been registered among the national forces.
Tunisian Premier Youssef Chahed followed the unfolding of the operation from the National School of National Guard and Civil Protection located in Bir Bouragba, in the Nabeul governorate, online media huffpostmaghreb.com repots citing a source close to the Prime Minister.
In a separate development, the defense ministry Saturday announced the deployment of army forces around oil facilities in the southern region to protect them against militants coming from Libya.
The forces will take position around the strategic oil fields near Tataouine province, in the desert, near the Libyan border, the ministry said.
Tataouine and the southern region have been theatre of social protests demanding creation of jobs and implementation of development projects. Protesters threatened to blockade routes used by energy companies, Reuters reports.
Several foreign oil and gas companies are involved in projects around Tataouine province, including Italy’s ENI, Vienna-based OMV and the Italo-Tunisian SITEP, Reuters noted.
The North African country has been facing a surge in insecurity since 2011; following the popular uprising that swept away former autocratic leader, Ben Ali.
Two attacks in capital Tunis, and an attack in Sousse, were recorded in 2015. The attacks claimed the lives of 72 people mostly foreign tourists.