Tunisia breaks up two Qaeda-linked cells: Ministry

AFP , Thursday 5 May 2016

File photo of Tunisian Special forces. (Photo: AFP)

Tunisian forces have dismantled two Al-Qaeda-linked cells that had been planning to carry out attacks against shopping malls and political parties, the interior ministry said Thursday.

Nine people were arrested during the operation against the cells that had pledged allegiance to the Okba Ibn Nafaa Battalion, a group linked to Al-Qaeda.

The operation took place on an unspecified date in the Kef region, which borders Algeria.

Explosives were seized from one of the cells that had been preparing to attack shopping centres, military and security installations, and politicians or parties, said the ministry.

The second cell of five members had procured financial assistance and sent provisions to a "group of terrorists" holed up in the same mountainous area, it said in a statement.

Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring uprisings, has been plagued by Islamist violence since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In March 2015, militant gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

And in June, 30 Britons were among 38 foreign holidaymakers killed in a gun and grenade attack on a beach resort near the Tunisian city of Sousse.

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