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article imageTunisia security forces kill IS fugitive

By AFP     May 29, 2017 in World

Tunisian security forces have killed a leader of the Islamic State group who was plotting attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, authorities said on Monday.

The interior ministry did not identify the suspect, but said he was a leading member of IS and "dangerous" and was killed in an operation Sunday night by the National Guard near the Algerian border.

Eleven arrest warrants had been issued for the suspect in connection with "terrorist operations", the ministry said.

Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told Shems FM radio the suspect was a Tunisian known as Houssem Tlithi, born in 1997.

The interior ministry said the suspect had been on the run since 2014 and hiding in the Mount Salloum region, a jihadist stronghold.

Mount Salloum is near Mount Chambi where 15 soldiers were killed in 2014 in the deadliest attack against the armed forces.

During Sunday night's operation, another jihadist was wounded and weapons seized, including a Kalashnikov assault rifle and material used to make explosive belts.

The interior ministry said they were to be used for "terrorist" attacks during Ramadan, a holy month which started Saturday and during which believers abstain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk.

Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and also 59 foreign tourists.

The country has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, when a suicide bombing in Tunis claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group killed 12 presidential guards.

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