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Tunisia arrests 5 Salafist 'terrorists' over attacks

  • Tunisian police officers secure the area where a suicide bomber blew himself up near a seaside hotel in Sousse,Tunisia, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Raghda Jammali)

TUNIS: Tunisian security forces arrested five Salafist "terrorists" implicated in two failed attacks on Wednesday in resort towns on Tunisia's eastern coast, the interior ministry announced.

"The interior ministry's special forces have arrested five terrorists with direct links to the assailants who tried to carry out simultaneous terrorist attacks in Sousse and Monastir," a statement said.

Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Laroui said those behind the attacks belonged to Ansar al-Sharia, Tunisia's main Salafist movement, which the authorities have designated a "terrorist organisation" with ties to Al-Qaeda.

He did not specify whether the 18-year-old man detained on Wednesday morning as he was trying to carry out a suicide attack at the tomb of former president Habib Bourguiba in Monastir was among the five arrested.

Police also seized "a large quantity of explosives" in a clifftop house near the marina in the resort town, according to local radio station Shems FM.

And police were sweeping the area looking for an accomplice to the would-be bomber.

In addition to the thwarted attack in Monastir, a suspected jihadist blew himself up on a beach in Sousse after guards chased him from a hotel when he tried to enter through a back door.

 
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