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Tunisia: Failed terrorist attack in south March 19

Two terrorists killed in failed attack in Magroun region (southeastern Tunisia) near Libyan border March 19

20 Mar 10:22 AM UTC
TIMEFRAME expected from 3/20/2018, 12:00 AM until 3/20/2018, 11:59 PM (Africa/Tunis). COUNTRY/REGION Magroun region

Event

On Monday, March 19, the Tunisian National Guard tracked and pursued two male terrorist suspects in the Magroun region (southeast) near the Sidi Toui National Park close to the border with Libya. While attempting to arrest them, one blew himself up and the other opened fire on the police and was shot dead. Their affiliation to any terrorist groups in Tunisia or neighboring war-torn Libya remains unknown.

Context

Tunisia has been under a near-constant state of emergency since June 2015. Although briefly lifted in October 2015, it was reinstated following a November 2015 bus bombing that killed a dozen security guards in downtown Tunis. The last major terrorist attack to strike Tunisia was in March 2016 in Ben Gardane, when militants attacked Tunisian security forces near the Libyan border.

Authorities continue to regularly dismantle suspected terrorist cells in counterterrorism operations conducted across the country, particularly focused in the eastern Chambi mountain region (Kasserine governorate), where a number of terrorist groups are entrenched. According to estimates by the Ministry of the Interior, several thousand Tunisian nationals are currently fighting for Islamic State (IS) and other armed groups in Iraq and Syria, raising fears that they could return to Tunisia to perpetrate attacks.

Advice

Individuals in Tunisia are advised to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities, particularly when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.). Certain Western governments advise against travel to the south of the country (e.g., regions on the borders with Algeria and Libya, and the Kasserine region), due to the presence of armed groups.

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