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Ministry: two Tunisian soldiers killed by ‘terrorists’

Four wounded on Saturday in a gunfight with insurgents near the Algeria border

Published: Updated:

Two Tunisian soldiers were killed and four wounded on Saturday in a gunfight with "terrorists" several kilometers (miles) from the border with Algeria, the defense ministry told AFP.

"There was an exchange of fire between a terrorist group and a military patrol at Ghar al-Tine, four kilometers from the Tunisian-Algerian border. Two of our soldiers were martyred and four were wounded," ministry spokesman Lamjed Hamami said.

He added that the operation was still under way and that the toll was provisional. Hamami was unable to say who the attackers were.

On July 16, suspected jihadists attacked twin army posts in the remote Mount Chaambi region near the Algerian border, killing 15 soldiers in the worst attack in the Tunisian army's history.

Another 18 soldiers were wounded and one attacker was killed.

The assailants took the soldiers by surprise as they were breaking their day-long Ramadan fast, with authorities saying up to 60 "terrorists" -- a reference to Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists -- took part in the attack with machine guns, rocket launchers and grenades.

The attack came as the government presses a crackdown on radical Islamists, sparking protests in several cities by residents fed up with violence linked to jihadists.