Tunisia: Armed Robbery of Bank Linked to Terrorism
The Tunisian Interior Ministry has linked the Wednesday robbery of a bank near the border with Algeria to a terrorism act.
An armed group left with the money available in the bank after breaking into the financial institution in the town of Kasserine near the Algerian border on Wednesday, local media Tunisie Numerique reports.
An official of the ministry described the robbery as an attack with a “terrorist background”.
The four individuals, who carried out the hold-up against the Amen Bank agency in Kasserine, had hijacked a car and held the passengers as hostages.
They then used this car to rob the bank. Three of the armed individuals went down and attacked the bank, while the fourth remained behind the wheel. The attackers were armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, Tunisie Numerique reports.
The robbers immediately came out of the bank with their booty, initially estimated at some 30,000 dinars, including amounts in foreign currencies, and drove away in the same car.
Eyewitnesses told the Tunisian media that some attackers were speaking an Algerian dialect among themselves during the operation.
The North African country has been on high alert following three major attacks in 2015 in which over 70 people, mostly foreign tourists, were killed by Tunisian fighters trained in neighboring Libya by the Islamic State group (ISIS).
Radicalism and terror acts surged in the wake of the 2011 revolution that swept away autocratic leader Ben Ali.
Attacks have died down but the country is bracing up to face the return of over 3,000 Tunisians who left to fight in the ranks of terror groups in hotbed conflict zones, namely Iraq, Syria and Libya.
Some of the fighters have returned home and have appeared before courts.