Tunisia’s Chief-of-Staff of Army Land Forces Resigns

13.08.2014 Tunisia
Tunisia’s Chief-of-Staff of Army Land Forces Resigns

Tunisia’s Chief-of-Staff of Army Land Forces Resigns

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The Commander of Tunisia's Army Land Forces has resigned, the Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, as the military struggles to contain attacks by al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Earlier this month, 15 Tunisian soldiers were killed when dozens of gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades attacked two checkpoints in Chaambi, one of the deadliest strikes on the North African country's Armed Forces.

“We confirm the resignation of the General Mohammed Salah al-Hamedi, the Chief- of-Staff of the Tunisian Army Land Forces, for personal reasons,” Rachid Bouhoula, a Defense Ministry spokesman said, adding that Colonel Major Mohssen al-Farissi would take the role until the President appoints a new Chief.

Clashes between militants and the Armed Forces have intensified over the years since a 2011 revolt ousted Tunisia's former autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Since April, thousands of Tunisian soldiers have been deployed in the Chaambi region bordering Algeria which militants have used as a hideout. Some fighters have been in the area since fleeing French intervention in Mali last year.

Meanwhile, Tunisia closed its main border crossing with Libya on Friday after thousands of stranded Egyptian and foreign nationals, fleeing militias' fighting and violence in Libya, tried to break through the passage, the Tunisian news agency said.

It was the second eruption of unrest at the border in as many days, as thousands of Libyans stream into neighboring Tunisia, along with foreign nationals. Tunisia is the only escape route as fighting escalates in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, where rival militias have been battling for weeks for control over the airport.

Source: Reuters; AP - Photo: Facebook

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