March 19, 2019 / 9:37 PM / 5 months ago

Tunisian forces kill three Islamic State militants near Algerian border

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian special forces killed three suspected Islamic State militants on Tuesday after clashes in mountains near the Algerian border, a security official told Reuters.

Days earlier, Islamic State had released pictures of militants carrying weapons in mountains where they have hidden for years.

“Our forces killed three terrorists suspected of belonging to Daesh after clashes in the Saloum mountains in Kasserine,” Colonel Houssem Jbebli told Reuters, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

One of the Arab world’s most secular nations, Tunisia became a target for militants after being hailed as a beacon of democratic change with an uprising against autocrat Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Some militants operate in remote areas near the border with Algeria.

Tunisia suffered three major attacks in 2015, including two against tourists, one at a museum in Tunis and the second on a beach in Sousse. The third targeted presidential guards in the capital. All three attacks were claimed by Islamic State.

After collapsing, tourism has since gradually recovered.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by James Dalgleish and Jonathan Oatis

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