TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian security forces killed four Islamist militants in clashes in the central Kasserine region near the border with Algeria on Thursday, the army said.
Tunisia’s army has been carrying out operations in the area since the March attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis, when gunmen killed 21 foreign tourists and a police officer in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants.
“At least four terrorists have been killed in clashes in Samama mountains in Kasserine,” army spokesman Belhassen Bouslati said.
Troops destroyed a vehicle used by the gunmen, he said.Since a 2011 uprising overthrew autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia’s armed forces have been fighting a low-level Islamist insurgency by several armed groups.
The Bardo museum massacre highlighted Tunisia’s vulnerability, as Islamist extremists use the chaos in neighboring Libya for shelter.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month the United States would increase military aid to Tunisia threefold this year and help train its troops in border management.
Reporting by Tarek Amara; editing by Andrew Roche