Tunis — Tunisian troops arrested four salafists in El Kef, near the border with Algeria, on Tuesday (October 1st).
The salafists were believed to be en route to meet terrorists in the region to provide them with supplies.
In their latest pushback against terrorists, authorities also arrested twenty-one terror suspects in Manouba on Sunday and eight Ansar al-Sharia members in Kairouan.
Two armed Ansar al-Sharia members were also arrested in Mornaguia, Manouba, near Tunis, on Monday according to Al-Chourouk paper.
"After declaring Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist organisation, the ministry decided to carry out daily raids. We have seized computers, weapons, and publications in homes and mosques," Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said last week in as interview with Radio Mosaique.
Khmais Ksila, a deputy from the opposition, told Magharebia, "We have warned since the beginning from these groups and from lapses in mosques."
The National Union of Tunisian Security Forces Syndicates (UNSFST) as well as Tunisian newspapers had documented the existence of training camps in Jebel Chaambi as well as of the militants' intent to establish an Islamist emirate on Tunisian territory for more than a year.
Yet the interior ministry's spokesman at the time Khalid Tarouch denied such intelligence categorically, saying they were just a bunch of young people practicing sports.
Meanwhile, Ksila was surprised by the inaction of the public prosecution with regard to a leaked memo that the Tunisian interior ministry received intelligence about plans to assassinate Mohamed Brahmi.
The interior minister announced that his department, in conjunction with the General Inspectorate of national security, would investigate the possibility of complacency in dealing with the information received.
Ben Jeddou also warned that Tunisia would be exposed to a serious terrorist plot intended to divide the country into three emirates. The plan was being prepared in parallel with a series of assassinations of political figures and attacks against public institutions.
He added that the ministry arrested more than 80 Ansar al-Sharia members in Ben Guerdane, on the Libyan border, during the first weeks of September.
Rawdha Baltaji, a teacher, told Magharebia she was dismayed by the information shared in the interview. She said that the threat of terrorism to the country was dangerous.
"Since the Chaambi attacks, security forces have been apprehending militants from mosques, houses and cafes," Tunis resident Monia Rashid told Magharebia.
Tunisia declared Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist organisation following the operations of Jebel Chaambi. It also came on the heels of the assassinations of Chokri Belaïd and Mohamed Brahmi by the same organisation.
Alaya Allani, a political Islam expert, commented on the statements of Ben Jeddou: "Al-Qaeda is now using a psychological war through the media to scare people and simultaneously engage in assassinations and weapons collection."
"The arrest of terrorists, in addition to repeated discoveries of weapons, has impacted the strategy of these groups," Allani said.
"In addition, the emergence of the idea of a government of competencies has undermined the terrorists' plans. They were preparing for major operations prior to the upcoming elections in order to push the country into chaos hence rendering the vote impossible," Allani added.
He noted, "Now, threats still exist. But the military buffer zone implemented by the Tunisian army will definitely monitor the movement of goods and these groups every move."