AFP – Security forces killed three suspected jihadists in an anti-terrorist operation Monday in a region of northwest Tunisia where Islamist militants shot dead four people last month, the interior ministry said.
The police surrounded a house in the Jendouba region straddling the Algerian border and killed “three terrorists,” ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said, without elaborating.
The ministry was expected to give further information at a news conference later in the day.
Tunisia has been rocked by sporadic attacks blamed on jihadists since the 2011 revolution that toppled a decades-old dictatorship and touched off Arab Spring uprisings across the region.
In central Sidi Bouzid, three policemen were wounded on Sunday night in a clash with gunmen travelling by car who refused to stop at a checkpoint and were chased, a security official said.
The policemen were hit in the exchange of fire that followed, with one of them left in a serious condition with chest wounds, a medical source said.
In mid-February, a group of armed men, consisting of three Tunisians and two Algerians, set up a roadblock in the Jendouba area, shooting dead a civilian and a prison warden as their car approached.
They then killed two policemen and wounded another two when a National Guard patrol was sent to investigate.
Much of the deadly violence witnessed in Tunisia since the January 2011 uprising has been blamed on Ansar al-Sharia, a hardline Salafi movement which the authorities have linked to Al-Qaeda and blamed for the killing of two opposition politicians last year.
The group never claimed responsibility for those attacks, which plunged the country into turmoil.
Tunisian authorities last month claimed major success in their battle against Islamist militants, announcing that they had killed or arrested various heavily armed jihadists, including the suspected assassins of the two politicians.
The news came shortly after lawmakers adopted a new constitution in late January and an interim government of technocrats was formed, tasked with restoring stability and leading Tunisia to fresh elections.