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14 soldiers killed near Tunisia-Algeria border

An attack on Tunisian military checkpoints left 14 soldiers dead and 23 injured Wednesday evening near Mount Chaambi and the Algerian border.
By JC Finley   |   July 17, 2014 at 3:48 PM   |   Comments

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TUNIS, Tunisia, July 17 (UPI) -- An unknown number of militants launched an attack on Tunisian military checkpoints Wednesday evening, killing 14 soldiers and injuring 23.

The attack occurred near Mount Chaambi, close to the border with Algeria.

According to Defense Ministry Press Attache Rachid Bouhoula, "Two groups attacked military checkpoints at 7:40 p.m. ... They shot from many angles and ... used machine guns and [rocket-propelled grenades]."

Bouhoula told Tunisia Livethat despite claims of responsibility by Uqba Ibn Nafi Battalion, authorities do not yet know who the assailants were. "One terrorist was killed ... We are still tracking the attackers. Field operations are on-going."

Anti-terrorist operations have been ongoing in the mountainous area since 2013.

Some have blamed increased violence on the National Constituent Assembly's failure to ratify the draft counterterrorism law, alleging the absence of stricter legislation has created a security vacuum.

The president of the Commission on General Legislation, Kalthoum Badr Eddine, disagrees. "People accuse the NCA of procrastination in drafting the terrorism law, and we are not." Instead, he said, "We must give a positive message to the security and military forces to let them know that we are not slowing down. ... We must accelerate our discussions."

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