December 4, 2015 / 1:16 PM / in 2 years

Two arrested on suspicion of planning suicide attacks in Tunisian capital

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisian police have arrested two suspected jihadists planning suicide attacks in the capital Tunis, the Interior Ministry said on Friday, 10 days after a suicide bombing killed 12 presidential guards.

Islamic State claimed that bombing, which was the third major militant attack in Tunisia this year and prompted the government to reimpose a state of emergency that had been lifted only a few weeks before.

"Security forces arrested two extremists planning to carry out suicide attacks in the capital, including one in Habib Bourguiba Avenue", the ministry said in statement.

Habib Bourguiba Avenue is the capital's main thoroughfare and is crowded with shops and cafes, as well as being the location of the Interior Ministry.

Several thousand Tunisians are fighting with Islamic State and other groups in Iraq and Syria. The gunmen who targeted foreign tourists in attacks on the beach resort of Sousse and Tunis's Bardo Museum this year are all believed to have trained at Islamist militant camps in Libya.

One of the Arab world's most secular nations, Tunisia has increasingly become a target for militants after being hailed as a beacon of democratic change in the region since its 2011 uprising ousted autocrat Zine Abidine Ben Ali.

Since last week's attack in the capital, authorities have arrested dozens of people and put scores more under house arrest on suspicion of having fought or trained with Islamist militant groups in Syria, Iraq or Libya.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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