Tunisian intel warns Al Qaeda fighters taking over border areas

by 1389 on October 24, 2013

in 1389 (blog admin), al-Qaeda, Algeria, Libya

World Tribune has the story:

Location of Tunisia

CAIRO — The Tunisian intelligence community has determined that Al Qaida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb was operating throughout the North African state.

Officials said the intelligence community has identified elements within AQIM responsible for the Islamist insurgency in Tunisia in 2013.

The officials said AQIM has mobilized North African nationals, particularly from Algeria and Tunisia, to attack the military and security forces.

“AQIM has exploited the security vacuum in Tunisia and sent perhaps hundreds of trained of fighters to take over border areas,” an official said.

Officials said AQIM was responsible for the July 29 attack in the Kasserine province in which at least eight Tunisian Army soldiers were killed. They said an AQIM squad tracked Army patrols and ambushed one of them.

“They killed or injured most of the patrol and then stole weapons and
equipment,” the official said.

The AQIM presence in Tunisia has been traced to a senior operative
identified as Elias Abu Velda, also known as Bin Kamel. Officials said Bin
Kamel was building a force in Tunisia under the direction of AQIM’s Kamal Al
Arab.

“The goal is to create a no-go zone in Tunisia, particularly along the
border with Algeria and eventually Libya,” a security source said. “This
would transform Tunisia into Al Qaida’ new hub in North Africa.”

Officials said AQIM has been searching for new areas of operation amid
the successful offensive by Algeria. They said hundreds of AQIM fighters
fled Mali for Libya and Tunisia in wake of the French military campaign in
northern Mali in early 2013.

“AQIM has also built contacts within the jihadist community in Tunisia,
which explains the new phenomenon of car bombings in our country,” the
source said.

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