Tunisia breaks up 160 militant cells in first 10 months of 2016: ministry

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 02, 2016 12:10 PM

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian security forces dismantled 160 jihadist cells in the first 10 months of this year, about 45 percent more than during the whole of 2015, the interior ministry said on Friday.

Tunisia has been the only Arab state to achieve a relatively peaceful democratic transition since the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 but has struggled to contain Islamist militancy, partly because of a spillover of instability from neighboring Libya.

An interior ministry statement said the number of terrorism suspects arrested between January and October this year was 850, compared with 547 for all of 2015.

Security forces stepped up efforts to track down militants after the North African country suffered three major deadly attacks last year, including two targeting foreign tourists.

In March this year, security forces repelled an attempted Islamic State takeover of the town of Ben Guerdan near the border with Libya.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Aidan Lewis and Mark Heinrich)