Bodies of police killed in clashes transferred from hospital
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 00:43
Oct. 24 - The bodies of two of seven police officers killed in fighting with militants in Tunisia are transferred from hospital after some of the worst violence in the north African country since a 2011 uprising. Rough Cut. (No Reporter Narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION).
STORY: The bodies of two Sidi Bouzid police officers killed in clashes with militants on Wednesday (October 23) were transferred to their homes from hospital on Thursday (October 24) morning, ahead of their burial next week.
The two were among six killed in clashes in Sidi Bouzid, 260 km (161 miles) south of Tunis, when a gun battle broke out after police raided a house where suspected militants were hiding, according to the Interior Ministry. Police said they had found arms, explosives and a car bomb being prepared.
Another policeman was killed in a separate clash with militants in Menzal Bourguiba to the north of Tunis, the interior ministry said.
The Tunisian government is cracking down on Islamist fighters using the chaos in neighbouring Libya to get weapons and training. Tunisia Prime Minister Ali Larayedh told Reuters last week militants exploited anarchy in Libya to get weapons across the porous border. Libya is struggling to contain rival militias and Islamist fighters who control parts of the country.
The violence, some of the worst since Tunisia's 2011 uprising, unsettled the start of negotiations between the Islamist-led government and opposition to end a crisis over the country's transition to democracy.
Authorities did not identify the militants involved in Wednesday's fighting, but two months ago, Tunisia banned Ansar al-Sharia, a hardline Islamist movement officials blamed for killing two opposition leaders this year.
Islamist violence is less common in Tunisia than in some other North African countries, where al Qaeda-linked groups have a stronger presence. But hardline militants have grown in influence since the 2011 Arab uprisings.
Security forces at the weekend killed 10 militants blamed for attacking Tunisian police patrols in a remote area near the Algerian border and killing two officers.
Ansar al-Sharia is just one of the hardline Islamist groups based in North Africa. Its leader is a former al Qaeda fighter in Afghanistan who is accused of inciting his followers to attack the U.S. Embassy compound in Tunis a year ago.
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