Tunisian security 'breaks up 160 militant cells' this year

Tunisian security 'breaks up 160 militant cells' this year
Tunisia believes its security forces have foiled numerous planned terror attacks with the arrest of hundreds of suspected militants following earlier assaults on tourists by IS and al-Qaeda-aligned extremists.
2 min read
05 December, 2016
Tunisia has struggled with Islamist militants launching attacks within its borders [AFP]

Tunisian authorities dismantled 160 miltant cells in the first 10 months 2016, the country's interior ministry has claimed. 

This progress marks a 45 percent increase on the number of suspected terror cells discovered in 2015.

According to the ministry, 850 terror suspects were arrested between January and October of this year, a figure around 300 more than for the whole of last year when a total of 547 Tunisians were detained.

Tunisia has been targeted by the Islamic State group, who have launched attacks on security forces, tourists and popular urban destinations. Last year, the country suffered three deadly attacks, two of which were directed at foreign tourists.

In neighbouring Libya, militants have also set up training camps along the border with Tunisia, which have drawn some Tunisian nationals. In March, the IS group went as far as attempting a takeover of the border town of Ben Guerdan.

The terror threat has wreaked havoc for Tunisia's once-thriving tourism industry, forcing security forces to increase efforts to locate terror cells and shut them down.

SInce the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, Tunisia has stood out among Arab nations for having achieved a relatively peaceful democratic transition. Like other countries in the region, however, Tunisia has wrestled with the threat of militant Islamists who have threatened to destabilise the country and wreck its economy.