Tunisian security forces arrested seven men for actively playing a role in the recruitment of Al Qaeda terrorists. The North African government claims to have completely dismantled the cell.
TAP news agency, the official news agency of the Tunisian government, released this statement:
A terrorist network which was responsible for recruiting radical Islamists and sending them to strongholds of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been dismantled.
US officials are claiming this network may have been a part of a disparate Al Qaeda network that were behind the killings in Benghazi, Libya in October.
Tunisian Interior Minister Spokesman Khaled Tarrouche stated the seven terror recruiters had been “brought to justice,” but he didn’t specify what measures were taken or if this simply referred to them having been arrested.
The government news agency is reporting security forces intercepted a rented automobile with four of the men on board 12 miles form the Tunisian-Algerian border. They claim two of the four men were able to escape. A search of the vehicle revealed electrical-shock torture equipment, various types of wires, explosives, and an unspecified number of documents.
The other five arrests in the matter occurred separately from the first two and the men were found in possession of a firearm, ammunition, military uniforms, and maps. The government did not specify any further details.
A US Intelligence Community insider who wished to remain anonymous stated the arrests were likely a result of increased US pressure to dismantle budding terrorist cells in the region in the wake of Benghazi and that US intelligence efforts most likely have established a loose system of rewards for such arrests and prosecutions.