Magharebia (Washington DC)

Tunisia Arrests 16 Al-Qaeda Suspects

Tunisia announced on Friday (December 21st) that it arrested 16 men suspected of belonging to a group with ties to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the western regions of Kasserine and Jendouba, near the Algerian border, AFP reported.

"We have discovered a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in a training camp run by three Algerians close to AQIM leader Abou Moussaab Abdelouadoud (Abdelmalek Droukdel)," in the Kasserine region, Interior Minister Ali Larayedh said.

In an operation that the minister said followed the deadly Kasserine clash earlier this month, security services arrested eight people in the province. Weapons, ammunition, explosives, binoculars, maps and military uniforms were seized during the operation. Most of the weapons are thought to have come from Libya, according to Larayedh.

The group was active in recruiting and training young Islamist extremists in AQIM camps in Algeria and Libya, the minister added.

Eight other extremists, including three Libyans, were arrested in the Jendouba region of northwest Tunisia. Security forces were still searching for Islamist suspects in the hills north of Ain Drahem on the Algerian border, Larayedh said.

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