Tunisia shootout leaves several dead

Tunisia shootout leaves several dead
Tunisian security forces kill five women and a man following a 29-hour siege of a suspected "terrorist" hideout.
2 min read
24 October, 2014
Tunisia witnessed armed standoffs earlier this year (AFP/Getty)
Tunisian security forces killed six people to conclude a deadly standoff near the capital with "terrorists" who killed a policeman on Thursday.

The confrontation, which began in the early hours of Thursday, came as the country gears up for its first post-revolution parliamentary election on Sunday.

Tunisian police stormed the house in Oued Ellil after attempting to negotiate with those inside. Women and children were known to be in the house. Two of the children were reportedly injured as the house was stormed, along with one of the gunmen, interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told reporters at the scene.

"Special forces approached the kitchen where the terrorists were hiding," Aroui said.

"The women came out of the kitchen firing," he added.

Security forces are fearful of any
     There are two children... but there will be an assault in the hours to come.
- Mohamed Aroui, interior ministry 
potential attacks on the elections, and have stepped up operations against suspected militants in recent days.

Aroui had previously warned on Thursday that security forces would storm the house.

"There are two children, that's why we haven't launched an assault but there will be an assault in the hours to come," he said.

"We also have information on the presence of explosives," Aroui added. 

Rise in militancy 

Since the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has seen the proliferation of armed Islamist groups that had been suppressed under the former autocratic president.

These militants have been blamed for a wave of attacks, including last year's assassination of two leftist politicians whose murders plunged the country into a protracted political crisis.

The Tunisian authorities gave no indication as to the identity of those involved in the siege, or whether they were members of any named group.

The raid in Oued Ellil came after a gunfight between authorities and two men also described as "terrorists" in Kebili, 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Tunis.

The suspects were arrested, though a private security guard was killed in the exchange of fire, Aroui said.