Tunisia: Jund al-Khilafah leader shot dead in pre-emptive security operation

Emir of the “Jund al-Khilafah” (Army of the Caliphate) Houssem Thelithi is among the three terrorists killed during the pre-emptive security operation carried out on Mount Salloum, governorate of Kasserine, on Tuesday evening, announced the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior on Wednesday.

The two other killed terrorists are Mohamed Naceur Mbarki Mokni, better known under the name of “Abu Suleiman” and Mondher Gharsalli, aka “Abu Mohamed”, reported the Tunisian news agency TAP, adding that the Interior department said the slain terrorists were identified after carrying out fingerprint and genetic identification tests.

According to the Ministry, the pre-emptive operation was conducted following reports that a group of terrorists, led by Houssem Thelithi Mokni, a fugitive terrorist known as “Abu Moslem”, was going back and forth to Hassi el-frid, governorate of Kasserine, for provisioning.

The National Guards ambushed the group Tuesday night and killed the three terrorists in the locality of Sidi Mahmoud, more than 5 km south of Mount Salloum, outside the closed military zone, said the Ministry of the Interior.

The three terrorists took part in the holdup of two bank branches in Kasserine and killed several persons, including soldier Saïd Ghozlani and his brother Khaled Ghozlani.

Earlier Wednesday, spokesperson for the National Guard Houssem Jebabli had told TAP three firearms, ammunition and several detonators, grenades and explosive belts were seized during the operation.

Mobile phones and infrared binoculars were also seized, the spokesperson added, noting that combing operations are continuing.

Jund al-Khilafah, an affiliate of the ISIS terror group, is on the United States’ list of terror organizations.

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