March 10, 2016 / 4:32 PM / 2 years ago

Tunisian troops kill three militants in Libyan border town

TUNIS (Reuters) - The Tunisian military said it killed three militants on Thursday in an operation to clear them out of a border town where more than 50 people died on Monday in an attack the government blamed on Islamic State.

Soldiers patrol during a military operation to eliminate militants in a village some 50 km (31 miles) from the town of Ben Guerdane, Tunisia, near the Libyan border March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

Monday’s attack on Ben Guerdan, when around 50 militants stormed through the town assaulting army and police posts, reinforced fears about spillover from jihadist camps in neighboring Libya.

“Security and army units killed three terrorists, arrested another and seized five Kalashnikov rifles in Ben Guerdan on Thursday,” the army said in statement.

Since the 2011 revolt against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has seen a growing threat from Islamist militancy at home and from over the border.

Tunisians trained in jihadist camps in Libya carried out two attacks last year on foreign tourists in Tunisia.

Islamic State’s increasing foothold in Libya is worrying its North African neighbors and Western governments. U.S. forces have launched air strikes against the group in Libya, and Western military advisers are helping Tunisia better protect its frontier.

Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Patrick Markey; editing by Andrew Roche

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