3 Tunisia soldiers wounded by jihadist mine

AFP , Sunday 2 Jun 2013

At least 3 Tunisian soldiers hunting Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists near Algeria have been wounded in a mine explosion on Mount Chaambi

Three Tunisian soldiers hunting Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in the rugged border region near Algeria have been wounded in a mine explosion on Mount Chaambi, the defence ministry said.

"The blast happened at 6:15 pm (1715 GMT on Saturday) under a military vehicle, wounding three soldiers," ministry spokesman Colonel Mokhtar Ben Nasr told AFP.

However, Salah Amri, director of the regional hospital in the Kasserine area, where the wounded were taken, told AFP that eight soldiers were treated for light injuries.

The interior ministry said on Friday that members of the radical Salafist group Ansar al-Sharia are among the jihadists the military is tracking in Tunisia's western region.

Ansar al-Sharia, which has been blamed for numerous acts of violence in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution, has in the past denied any link to the group being hunted in the remote border region.

Authorities have been hunting the group since December when it attacked a border post, killing a member of the national guard.

The army intensified its search at the end of April, after landmines planted by the Islamists to protect their base in the border region wounded 16 members of the security forces.

Since the revolution that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, Muslim extremists suppressed under the former dictator have become increasingly active and have launched a wave of attacks, notably on the US embassy in September last year.

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