Saturday, 14/12/2019 | 12:55 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Tunisia closes border with Libya after fierce clashes

Bloody raid on army and police posts in Ben Gardane killed 55 people, mostly attackers who infiltrated the country.

Tunisia's border with Libya was closed on Tuesday after a brazen attack by suspected ISIL gunmen on a frontier town left at least 55 people dead.

Gunmen attacked the eastern town of Ben Gardane on Monday and fighting continued past nightfall.

Tunisian Prime Minister Hassid Essid said the assault was an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attempt to carve out a stronghold on the border.

This is an unprecedented attack, planned and organised. Its goal was probably to take control of this area and to announce a new emirate," Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said.

The death toll includes 36 attackers, seven civilians and 12 members of Tunisia's security forces, Essid said.

Tunisian interior and defence ministers travelled to the town to oversee heightened border protection operations on Tuesday, according to a joint statement.

The attackers simultaneously targeted an army barracks and police posts with heavy weaponry, including rocket-propelled grenades.

The government imposed a curfew in Ben Gardane.

A security and military campaign began last week in Ben Gardane after Tunisian security officials said "terrorist groups" had infiltrated the country.

Officials said that the campaign followed raids in Libya against ISIL.

Fighters trained in Libya carried out several deadly attacks inside Tunisia last year.

Source: Al Jazeera