28 extremists killed in Tunisia fighting near Libya border

At least 28 extremists, 10 members of the security forces and seven civilians were killed Monday in fighting in Tunisia near the Libyan border, the government said.

The extremists, six members of the National Guard, two policemen, a customs official and a soldier died after the militants attacked security posts in the border town of Ben Guerdane at dawn, the interior and defence ministries said in a joint statement.

Seven civilians were also killed in the clashes, the statement said, adding that the death toll was preliminary.

Authorities ordered a nighttime curfew as troops deployed across Ben Guerdane to hunt for others involved in the coordinated pre-dawn attack.

It was the second deadly clash in the border area in less than a week as Tunisia battles to prevent the large number of its nationals who have joined ISIS in Libya from returning to carry out attacks at home.

The extremists have taken advantage of a power vacuum since the NATO-backed overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 to set up bases in several areas of Libya, including the Sabratha area between Tripoli and the Tunisian border.

The government said that an army barracks and police and National Guard posts in Ben Guerdane came under simultaneous attack.

A soldier was also killed in the fighting and six wounded militants were captured, the defense ministry said.

Hospital official Abdelkrim Chafroud said a 12-year-old was among the dead civilians, and two security agents were also killed.

Source: National News Agency

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