KASSERINE: Tunisian security forces and suspected jihadists have clashed near Mount Chaambi, a stronghold near the Algerian border of militants linked to Al Qaeda, a security source said yesterday.
“The clash took place last night (Friday) as an anti-terrorist brigade moved in to arrest jihadists at Karma” in the Kasserine area, the source said.
He said the hour-long firefight came as government forces assaulted a house thought to contain Mourad Gharsalli, the number two of a group in the Chaambi area that security forces have been hunting for months.
They were acting on a tip-off that Gharsalli had emerged from hiding to visit relatives, the security source added. The house was partly destroyed in the assault but the jihadists managed to escape, leaving behind a phone and some ammunition.
Reinforcements were rushed to the area and a security sweep was under way, the source said. Media reports said a jihadist group had been surrounded at Jebel Semmama near Mount Chaambi. “Army and national guard reinforcements have been sent in, which could mean a large-scale operation” against the militants, Mosaique FM radio reported.