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Tunisia Arrests 32 Militants Suspected of Plotting Attack on Capital

© AP Photo / Aimen ZineMembers of the Tunisian National Guard take positions as they secure the scene of a shooting in the Oued Ellil suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
Members of the Tunisian National Guard take positions as they secure the scene of a shooting in the Oued Ellil suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 - Sputnik International
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32 suspects have been arrested on the suspicion that they were plotting attacks against the country's capital, as Tunisia forms a secular-Islamist coalition government and attacks on militants in the Kasserine mountains continue.

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Tunisian authorities arrested 32 suspects around the country who are believed to be plotting terrorist attacks against security installations around the country, including the Interior Ministry headquarters in the capital, Tunisia's TAP news agency reports.

"The arrested are takfiris directly tied to the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade. Some of them returned from conflict zones, including Syria," the Interior Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Ali Laroui, told reporters.

He added that the Tunisian security service will continue to conduct operations around Tunisia, including its mountainous regions, and that the country has sufficient resources to stand up to the terrorist threat.

Meanwhile, Tunisian security forces are shelling areas of the country's Kasserine mountains in a campaign against Islamist fighters in the area.

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"The shelling operations continue unabated. They have killed Tunisian and Algerian terrorists. Major operations were led on the heights by National Guard units," Laroui told TAP.

The arrests come a day after the secular-Islamist coalition government led by newly elected Prime Minister Habib Essid took office, following the country’s first free parliamentary and presidential elections late last year, marking a transition to democracy.

Since the 2011 Arab Spring, which led to the ouster of ex-president Ben Ali, the country has became one of the largest sources of Islamist fighters traveling to Syria, including those who join the Islamic State (ISIL) militant group.

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