World Bulletin/News Desk
Tunisia's Interior Ministry said on Saturday that a suspected bomb placed near a colonel's home in Tunis was fake and came with a letter, purporting to be from al Qaeda, demanding the army stop its offensive near the Algerian border.
Tunisian security forces launched major ground and air attacks on Friday in Mount Chaambi to try to rout armed groups, who launched a deadly assault on the army this week.
The box contained only wires and batteries, the ministry said in a statement. "It was not a real explosive but rather a fake bomb," it said. "The letter found had threats from al Qaeda demanding that the operations in Chaambi stop."
The hoax happened just hours after two men accidentally set off explosives at home. One of them was killed by the bomb he was making and, in a separate incident, the other blew off his hand and was captured.
Attacks on Tunisian security forces have increased this week, adding to instability over a growing political crisis. The secular opposition is trying to oust a transitional government led by Islamists, who deny any links to the groups attacking security forces.
On Monday, eight soldiers were ambushed and killed in the sparsely populated Chaambi area, where the army has been hunting armed groups since December, in one of the worst attacks on security forces in decades.
The assault followed two bomb attacks near security forces in the capital, the first time Tunis has suffered such attacks. No one was hurt.
While security forces continue their fight, the government will be meeting with opposition groups on Saturday to try to solve the country's political turmoil.
Both sides have appeared to be escalating tensions in a week of rival protests. The ruling Ennahda party is organising a protest on Saturday in support of the government. On Sunday, opposition groups are planning an anti-government march.Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2013, 15:28