Terrorists with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched a deadly attack against Tunisian security forces on Sunday, according to a report from AFP.
The attack took place near the Tunisia-Alergia border. As members of the Tunisian National Guard were conducting a patrol in the area, AQIM fighters detonated an explosive device and then engaged the soldiers with small arms.
Tunisian officials told AFP that six National Guard soldiers were killed in the attack.
“We are aware that the war on terrorism will be long,” said Tunisian interim Interior Minister Ghazi Jeribi while speaking on state TV. The Tunisian government has vowed to retaliate against the jihadis who ordered the attack.
“We will go into their (the terrorists) dens and we will avenge the Tunisian people,” Jeribi stated.
Many of Tunisia’s allies in Europe have issued statements of condolence, and French foreign affairs ministry Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that France will “stand with the Tunisian people and authorities at this difficult time.”
Tunisia has struggled to contain radical Islamic terror groups inside its border and has suffered attacks since dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in 2011. In 2015, 38 people were killed by a member of Ansar al-Sharia in a mass shooting. Later that year 12 Tunisian presidential guards were killed in an ISIS suicide bombing in the capital. In 2016 another attack against Tunisian security forces near the Libyan border left 20 dead.
In the years since those attacks, the Tunisian government has increased security in hopes of revitalizing the nation’s tourism industry.
“People are coming back to Tunisia because there is security … we are at the same level (of security) as any European city,” said Selma Elloumi Rekik, the Tunisian Tourism Minister.