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Suspected jihadist killed, 16 arrested in Tunisia: govt

AFP , Friday 24 Jul 2015
Tunisian forces
File Photo: Tunisian soldiers celebrate at the end of a successful raid against gunmen in the Oued Ellil suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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Tunisian forces killed one suspected jihadist and arrested 16 others in a series of operations, the government said Friday, as lawmakers studied tougher anti-terrorism laws following a spate of attacks.

Security forces launched an operation Thursday in Sejnane, in the northern Bizerte region, "against terrorists preparing terrorist acts," said the interior ministry.

It added that 13 suspects had been arrested and that one person was killed when they tried to flee the scene.

Another raid was launched Friday at dawn in the town of Menzel Bourguiba, resulting in three further arrests.

The ministry said weapons including explosives, ammunition and several assault rifles were seized during the operations.

Tunisia has faced a spate of extremist attacks in 2015, including a massacre at a Tunis museum in March that killed 22 people, mostly tourists, and a mass killing at a beach resort last month that left 38 foreigners dead.

The attacks, both claimed by the Islamic State group, have impacted heavily on Tunisia's vital tourism sector.

Authorities have pledged to crack down on extremism and lawmakers have this week debated a bill aimed at beefing up powers to confront the jihadist threat.

Parliament on Thursday approved imposing the death penalty for those convicted of "terrorist" crimes, despite opposition from right groups and a de facto quarter-century moratorium on executions.

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