Tunisia battles suspected militants near Libyan border

Security operation is under way against terrorists in Ben Guerdane," interior ministry spokesman Yasser Messbah told AFP.

Tunisia: Tunisia launched a counter-terrorism operation near the Libyan border on Wednesday after what state television said was an infiltration by an armed group from the other side.

"A security operation is under way against terrorists in Ben Guerdane," interior ministry spokesman Yasser Messbah told AFP without elaborating.

State television reported gunfire after an armed group in a 4x4 managed to get across the border.

Witnesses said that security forces had surrounded a house in El Aouija, 10 kilometres (six miles) outside Ben Guerdane and were exchanging fire with those inside.

Tunisian media reported that one civilian had died from a bullet wound. Mosaique FM radio said a soldier had been seriously wounded.

Tunisia has built a 200-kilometre (125-mile) barrier that stretches about half the length of its border with Libya in an attempt to prevent militants from infiltrating. 

A series of deadly attacks by the Islamic State jihadist group last year, which have dealt a devastating blow to the country`s tourism industry, are believed to have been planned from Libya.

Washington carried out an air strike last month against an IS training compound in western Libya, that it has said probably killed the attacks` mastermind as well as dozens of other militants.
Britain announced on Monday that it was sending a team of around 20 soldiers to Tunisia to train troops patrolling the border with Libya.

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