April 16, 2015 / 9:32 PM / 5 years ago

Tunisia finds weapons, arrests jihadist with explosive belt

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian troops have captured a large arms cache including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and explosives, a security source said on Thursday, as the government struggles to keep track of jihadists after a bloody attack last month.

Last month gunmen stormed the national Bardo museum in the capital Tunis, killing 21 foreign tourists in the deadliest militant attack in more than a decade, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

“Special troops arrested on Thursday a dangerous terrorist in possession of a Kalashnikov and an explosive belt in Sidi Bouzid,” a security source said, without giving details.

After this special forces found an arms cache in the central town of Sidi Bouzid including Kalashnikovs, grenades and explosives, he added.

Tunisia has launched a campaign against hardline Islamist groups who emerged after a 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali that put the North African country on track to democracy.

After the Bardo attack, Tunisian police arrested dozens of jihadists and killed militants including Lokman Abou Sakhr, a senior Algerian militant.

Last month, Tunisia seized two large arms caches, including Kalashnikovs, rockets and landmines, in the southern city of Ben Guerdan near the Libyan border.

Tunisia is worried that violence will spill over from neighbouring Libya, where Islamic State has expanded, exploiting widespread turmoil as two rival governments battle for control.

U.S. deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken said last week the United States will increase military aid to Tunisia threefold this year and help train its troops in border management, the first time it has been involved in training Tunisian soldiers.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by James Dalgleish

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below