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Tunisia orders crackdown after Islamic militants kill 14 soldiers

Published on Jul 20, 2014 8:32 AM
An Army ambulance carrying Tunisian soldiers, injured following an attack near the Algerian border, arrives at a hospital in in Kasserine, located at the foot of Mount Chaambi on July 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia on Saturday launched a crackdown on mosques and radio stations associated with hardline Islamists after militants killed 14 soldiers in an area near the country's border with Algeria.

The move underscores the difficulty one of the Arab world's most secular countries faces in dealing with the rise of conservative Islamist movements and militants since the 2011 revolt that ousted autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and opened the way to democracy.

Tunisia's armed forces have been carrying out a campaign to flush out militants from their remote hideout in the Chaambi mountains on the border with Algeria.

Some of the militants are tied to Al-Qaeda and 14 soldiers were killed this week when dozens of gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked two army checkpoints in the region.

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