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Tunisian forces prepare to confront jihadists - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Radical Islamist movement Ansar al-Shariah supporters clash with Tunisian police officers after Tunisia's Interior Ministry on Friday. (AP Photo/Nawfel)

Radical Islamist movement Ansar Al-Sharia supporters clash with Tunisian police officers. (AP Photo/Nawfel)

Tunis, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Tunisian government has sent military reinforcements to Jebel Ech Chambi in the Kasserine province in the west of the country following an incident in which Tunisian troops came under attack two days ago.

In this latest attack, a number of soldiers were injured by a mine which exploded under their Hummer vehicle, splitting it into two.

Eyewitnesses said the clashes happened in an area about two and a half miles from Kasserine.

Armed forces surrounded the area but did not risk getting close in case there were more mines in the area, and due to the possibility of coming under fire from the terrorist group.

These latest clashes have shown a shift in strategy by the insurgents, who have started using anti-armor mines, which are more lethal than locally made mines. None of the armed men, who were thought to be making their escape to the Algerian border, were arrested.

Internal security forces’ union member in Kasserine, Elfadel Sayhi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the clash, the night before last, had made the situation more dangerous. He said the fact that the armed men had opened fire randomly meant that they were feeling under pressure because of the siege.

In another development, security forces in Qayrawan, central Tunisia, stopped members of Ansar Al-Sharia, a Salafist group, from painting walls and bus shelters and cleaning the streets on Saturday and Sunday. The walls had graffiti carrying anti-revolution slogans and expletives, which prompted Ansar Al-Sharia to start the cleaning campaign. However, Abdelmakid Laghoune, Qayrawan’s governor, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the security forces had stopped the campaign because Tunisian youth were carrying the name of Ansar Al-Sharia on their shirts.