Troops injured in Tunisia jihadist hunt
06 May 2013, 16:27
Kasserine - Two Tunisian soldiers were wounded on Monday
when a device exploded in the Mount Chaambi border region during the ongoing
hunt for a group of jihadists who have mined the area, a medic said.
"Two soldiers were wounded, one of whom lost his leg
and the other was hurt in one eye," said a doctor at the hospital in
Kasserine, the regional capital just a few kilometres from the theatre of
Last week, 15 members of the security forces were wounded by
handmade explosive devices in the remote region near the Algerian border,
triggering a major operation to take out the "terrorist" group and
demine the area.
The interior ministry admitted on Saturday that it had lost
track of the Islamist militants in the wooded mountainous terrain which covers
an area of around 100 square kilometres.
It said they numbered no more than 20 people, but a military
source involved in the operations told AFP that the group was made up of more
than 50 fighters.
Since the hunt began, soldiers have seized caches of
explosives, documents and food supplies belonging to the group, which was
blamed for an attack on a border post in December that killed a member of the
The security forces have been searching for the jihadists
In late December 2012, the authorities announced the arrest
of 16 militants with links to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but they have
not said whether the group being pursued in the Mount Chaambi region has links
to the network.
Since the mass uprising that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
in January 2011, radical Islamists suppressed by the former dictator have
become increasingly assertive in Tunisia.