Two soldiers, militant killed in Tunisia turmoil
Tunisian police shot dead an Islamist militant in Tunis and two soldiers were killed in a blast near the Algerian border on Sunday, as the government grappled with growing security and political crises, Reuters reported.
There has been a surge in Islamist militant attacks over the past two weeks in the North African country, and on Friday security forces launched heavy air and artillery strikes on militant hideouts in the Mount Chaambi area near the Algerian border.
At the same time, the secular opposition, angered by the assassination of two of its leading members and emboldened by Egypt's army-backed ousting of its elected Islamist president, is seeking to topple its own moderate Islamist-led government.
Tens of thousands of Tunisians came out in a show of force for the ruling Ennahda party on Saturday, shouting "No to coups, yes to elections."
On Sunday night, the opposition held a rival rally that drew more than 20,000, the largest protest since it began launching daily demonstrations last week.
Earlier on Sunday, two soldiers were killed and six others were wounded by a landmine that hit their tank as they searched an area in Mount Chaambi, where militants killed eight soldiers last week in the deadliest attack on Tunisian forces in decades.
In the capital Tunis, Interior Ministry official Lotfi Hidouri said police raided a house where militants were hiding weapons in the Kabaria district. "The police killed a terrorist and arrested five others," he said.
Over the past week, a roadside explosive device and a car bomb have targeted security forces in Tunis, the first such attacks to hit the capital. No one was hurt.