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Tunisia state employee held for security leaks: Police

AFP , Friday 6 Jan 2017
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Tunisian authorities have arrested a state employee accused of passing information about security operations to extremist groups, a police spokesman said on Friday.

Since its 2011 uprising, Tunisia has faced repeated Islamist militant attacks that have killed more than 100 soldiers and policemen, as well dozens of civilians and foreign tourists, according to official figures.

Khlifa Chibani, a spokesman for the National Guard, told a news conference that 11 "terrorist cells" were broken up by security services last month alone and 62 suspects arrested.

Among the suspects was "an employee of the state who provided these cells with a programme of security raids," said Chibani.

He declined however to identify the suspect or say in which government department he worked, adding only that "he could access" security information through his job.

"His relation to security (services) allowed him to know" of planned anti-extremist operations, he said.

Chibani said the state employee was arrested in Tunisia's Enfidha region, around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital Tunis, and added that the suspected had confessed to the alleged crime.

In September 2015, the interior ministry said 110 members of the security services had been dismissed from their posts, some allegedly for harbouring "terrorist sympathies".

Tunisia says around 3,000 of its nationals have joined the ranks of jihadists groups fighting in neighbouring Libya, as well as in Syria and Iraq.

The United Nations puts this figure at 5,500.

A government spokesman last month said around 800 jihadists who returned to Tunisia have so far been jailed or placed under surveillance.

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