Six killed in attack targeting security force patrol in western Tunisia

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Six members of Tunisia’s security forces were killed on Sunday in an attack in the west of the country close to the border with Algeria, according to the Interior Ministry.

Earlier news agency reports had quoted that nine members of the police had been killed, quoting state news agency TAP.

Militants present in rural parts of Tunisia occasionally target security forces, and in 2015 Islamist militants carried out three major attacks.

The police unit from Gar Dimaou in the region of Jendouba was ambushed during a regular patrol, TAP reported.

“The terrorist attackers threw a grenade at the first security car and there were confrontations with firearms,” the report cited a security source as saying.

One of the Arab world’s most secular nations, Tunisia became a target for militants after a democratic change following an uprising against Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Some militants operate in remote areas near the border with Algeria, which has been fighting the remnants of a major Islamist insurgency in the 1990s.

Two of the attacks in 2015 were against tourists, the first at a museum in Tunis and the second on a beach in Sousse. The third targeted presidential guards in the capital, killing 12.

All three attacks were claimed by ISIS.

Tourism, after collapsing, has since gradually recovered.

The government has maintained a state of emergency, allowing it greater powers in its attempts to dismantle militant networks.

(With agencies)

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