Sun Apr 30, 2017 05:59PM
Tunisian police officers are seen on the outskirts of Ben Guerdane, southern Tunisia, March 8, 2016. (Photo by AP)
Tunisian police officers are seen on the outskirts of Ben Guerdane, southern Tunisia, March 8, 2016. (Photo by AP)
  • Embed

The Tunisian National Guard has killed two suspected terrorists in a security operation in the central town of Sidi Bouzid.

A Tunisian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, announced the news, adding that a gun battle broke out on Sunday in Ouled Chebli district of the city after security forces with the country's National Guard raided a house where terrorists had hidden.

"They killed one and another blew up his explosive belt," the official said, adding that some other suspects fled the scene but were still being pursued.

The house had been under surveillance for some time before being surrounded and stormed by the security forces, he added.

Tunisia has increased anti-terror operations following a truck attack claimed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group at a Christmas market in the German capital, Berlin, on December 19. Anis Amri, a Tunisian national, was identified as the main suspect in the ramming, which killed a dozen people.

Tunisia has experienced violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades. The country has also been affected by the growing instability in neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since former dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and later killed in 2011.

During the past six years, Tunisia has witnessed multiple terrorist attacks that have claimed the lives of dozens of members of the security forces and also nearly 60 tourists. Since November 2015, when a bomb attack claimed by Daesh Takfiri terrorists killed 12 presidential guards, the country has been under a state of emergency.

Tunisia is among the countries with the highest per capita number of extremist militants operating in other countries. As many as 7,000 Tunisians have reportedly left their country since 2011 to fight alongside extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.

In recent months, Daesh has been under intense pressure by government troops in Iraq and Syria, where the Takfiri group once occupied parts of territory. The terrorist group has been increasingly losing members and areas it once held. Daesh is also losing its main stronghold of Sirte in Libya.

The gloomy status quo of Daesh has growingly worried Tunisians that many militants will return to the North African country. Late last year, Tunisian authorities warned about the return of thousands of Takfiri militants, calling for "exceptional measures" to combat the phenomenon.