TUNIS, Tunisia, March 7 (UPI) -- At least 27 people were killed in a raid Monday by suspected Islamist militants in Libya on a military barracks at the Libya-Tunisia border, the Tunisian government reported.
The predawn firefight at Ben Guerdane, Tunisia, 18 miles from the border, killed 21 attackers, with six more captured. Two security officers at the barracks and four civilians, including a 12-year-old boy, were also killed, Belhassan Oueslati of the Tunisian Defense Ministry said.
The attack comes as concern mounts of an invasion of Tunisia by Islamist groups in Libya, a country whose lack of a stable government has made it a haven for militants. Five militants with a motive of "terrorist attacks" were killed last week in the same area, Tunisia's Prime Minister, Habib Essid, announced, and in 2014, two attacks on Tunisian tourist resorts killed dozens of foreigners.
The Tunisian Interior Ministry announced Monday, in a statement, an assurance that the situation in Bel Guerdane was "under control."
About 6,500 Islamist forces are in Libya, the United States recently reported; U.S. airstrikes on Sabratha, Libya, 60 miles from the Tunisian border, killed at least 43 of them in February. Tunisia has built a berm, a wall of earth and sand, along 125 miles of the border to reduce infiltration from Libya.