Gunman killed in restive Tunisia border region: Army

AFP , Monday 5 May 2014

Soldiers have killed a gunman in Tunisia's restive Mount Chaambi border region, where the security forces have been hunting Islamist militants for more than a year, the army said Monday.

"Yesterday (Sunday) at around 7:00 pm (1800 GMT), two people were identified in the closed military zone, at the eastern entrance to Mount Chaambi" near the Algerian border, defence ministry spokesman Taoufik Rahmouni told Tunisian radio.

"The two men did not obey the order to stop and tried to flee. We opened fire. One of them was wounded and died at the scene and the other fled," he added.

The army recovered weapons and ammunition, according to the ministry spokesman, who described the dead gunman as "wanted" by the authorities, without giving further details.

Since late 2012, security forces have been battling dozens of militants hiding out in the Mount Chaambi region, just a few kilometres (miles) from the border with Algeria.

The authorities say the militants are linked to Al-Qaeda.

In July 2013, eight soldiers were killed in an ambush, some of whom were found with their throats slit, while others have died or been wounded in explosions caused by improvised landmines.

Last month, the authorities designated the region a closed military zone, along with some mountainous areas nearby, and warned of the growing threat posed by "terrorist organisations" based there.

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