Tunisian soldiers killed in attack

Tunisia’s military launched an operation to flush out militants from the Mount Chaambi region last year

By BBC

At least 14 Tunisian soldiers have been killed in a militant attack near the Algerian border with the toll expected to rise, the defence ministry says.

Some 20 others were wounded in the attack, which took place in the Mount Chaambi area, officials add.

They say gunmen, armed with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles, attacked two checkpoints near the border.

The Tunisian army has been waging a crackdown on militants operating in the mountainous region over the past year.

Islamist militants, including fighters linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM), are believed to be hiding out in the border region.

The attack, which took place on Wednesday evening, is one of the deadliest to have taken place since the military operation began.

The defence ministry told AFP that it “is the heaviest recorded [death toll] to have been registered by the army since independence” in 1956.

Eight soldiers were killed in an attack in the Mount Chaambi district in July 2013, days before the assassination of secular politician Mohamed Brahmi, which plunged the country into political turmoil.