The two suspected militants killed on Tuesday by security forces have been named as Oussama Mahmoudi and Jihed Mbarki. A sixteen year old youth was also killed during the exchange of fire in Cité Karma in Kasserine
According to military sources, both men are thought to be members of Uqba Ibn Nafaâ Katibat, a Tunisian group allied to Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and considered by Tunisian authorities to be responsible for last year’s attack at the Bardo Museum that claimed the lives of 21 people.
Military sources report that at 3am, the National Regiment of Rapid Intervention (BNIR) attacked three houses in Cité Karma where members of the group thought responsible for the ambush earlier this week were located. A sixteen year old boy, said to have been watching the exchange of fire was killed at the scene.
One man is reported have been killed shortly after the attack commenced, with the other killed during later exchanges of fire. According to the MosaiqueFM, the teenager was killed by Islamist fighters after he and others gathered to support the army. A security agent involved was injured in the knee.
A number of arms were seized, including two rifles and an unstated amount of ammunition. A bomb-belt, several grenades, a sword and three mobile phones plus a motorcycle were also confiscated.
Speaking to Tunisia Live, former spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior, Mokhtar Ben Nasser said that “the residents of Cité Karma have been very helpful. They told the military units about the location of the terrorists… The military were then able to surround the place and stop them and kill them.”
According to Ben Nasser, militant groups operating in Tunisia receive logistical support and arms from smuggling operations, despite the military units’ controls.
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.