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Tunisia breaks up militant cell near Sousse - interior ministry
December 29, 2016 / 1:13 PM / 9 months ago

Tunisia breaks up militant cell near Sousse - interior ministry

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian security forces said on Thursday that they had broken up an al Qaeda-linked militant cell with 10 members that was active near the coastal city of Sousse.

The interior ministry said in a statement that the group had used the Telegram encrypted messaging system to communicate with associates inside and outside Tunisia, and was plotting to carry out “terrorist operations”, without giving further details.

The cell had links to Okba Ibn Nafaa, an al Qaeda-linked group based in the Mount Chaambi range near the Algerian border that has claimed attacks against Tunisian security forces, the statement said. Its members were aged between 25 and 45 and included two women, it added.

Tunisia has struggled to contain Islamist militancy since its 2011 uprising, suffering three major attacks last year including one in which 38 foreign tourists were killed by a gunman on a beach in Sousse.

Tunisian security forces said recently that they had dismantled 160 jihadist cells in the first 10 months of this year, about 45 percent more than during the whole of 2015.

Reporting by Mohamed Argoubi; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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