Minister of the Interior Ali Laarayedh declared today in a press conference at the National Guard headquarters in the northern Tunis suburb of Aouina that an Al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Tunisia has been dismantled.
The terrorist cell carries the name of “The Militia of Uqba Ibn Nafaa in Tunisia” and sought to act as the Tunisian branch of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
The Ministry pointed to 16 people that were arrested and 18 others that are being pursued, reported Mosaique FM.
According to the same source, special operations forces have confiscated guns, bullets, plans, binoculars for military use, and military fatigues as well as deciphered codes. The objectives of this branch was to impose Sharia by force in Tunisia.
At the press conference, the minister said that these terrorists were hiding for a few weeks in the western mountains of Chambi and Ain Drahem, adding that the majority of them hail from from the governorate of Kasserine. Furthermore, they were known for their active participation in events organized by Ansar Sharia, which is an Islamist militia group known for its advocacy of the strict implementaion of Sharia.
Laarayedh added that those arrested were no older than 30 years of age and had been trained in weapon use in Algeria and Libya.