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Tunisia arrests 12 suspected IS members, dismantles cells: Ministry

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TUNIS – Authorities have arrested 12 suspected members of the Daesh (so-called IS) group and seized bomb making materials since a suicide attack last month, the interior ministry said Friday.

Authorities have also “dismantled four takfiri (Sunni extremist) sleeper cells in several parts of Tunisia”, the ministry said in a statement.

The announcement follows an attack by 30-year-old female suicide bomber Mna Guebla on Oct. 29 that wounded 26 people on the capital’s busy upmarket Avenue Habib Bourguiba, in the first militant attack in the capital since November 2015.

A laboratory producing explosives and electronic components has also been uncovered in a Tunis suburb, the ministry said.

The four dismantled cells are suspected of having been in contact “with terrorist officials entrenched in the Tunisian mountains to organize a series of attacks… aimed at sensitive targets with weapons, a car, poison or remote explosives”, the statement said.

Investigators confiscated “a very large quantity of explosive and chemical products, along with a drone equipped for remote bombings”, the statement added, without specifying where the haul was found.

In a separate statement late on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said a police patrol had been targeted by an armed group in the middle of Kasserine, a marginalized city in western Tunisia.

A passerby was shot and wounded, the ministry said, adding that an investigation was underway to determine whether the attack was linked to extremist groups holed up in nearby mountains bordering Algeria.

Thousands of Tunisians have joined groups fighting in Iraq, Syria and neighboring Libya.

AFP

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