A terrorist attack led by terrorist elements against a Tunisian security patrol in northwestern Tunisia killed nine members of the Tunisian National Guard in a preliminary count.
Interior Ministry spokesman General Sufyan al-Zaq said that two cars belonging to the Tunisian National Guard, a counter-terrorism force, were attacked by “a land mine ambush” in the Ain-Sultan area, northwest Tunisia.
Zaq said the blast was a “terrorist attack,” and that assailants had “opened fire on security forces” after the mine exploded.
According to the ministry, the nine victims were from National Guard, of which eight were killed on the spot and one died of heavy injuries later.
Following the terrorist attack, massive military and security reinforcements were deployed to track the impact of terrorist elements, who, as reported by some local media reports, had fled on board of a National Guard vehicle before leaving and spreading in dense forests.
Tunisia's tourism industry is still rebounding from a string of devastating attacks in 2015, including one at the National Bardo museum in Tunis and another targeting a beach resort in Sousse that together killed 59 foreign tourists and a Tunisian guard.
The terrorist attack is expected to partially affect tourism activity and bookings in the coming months, but its implementation in a mountainous area away from sensitive tourist sites and government buildings could ease the impact of this terrorist attack on the tourism sector.
Tunisia has been besieged by terrorist groups in the west of the country on the mountainous border with Algeria, including the ISIS-affiliated "Uqba bin Nafi” Brigades.
The country has faced bloody terrorist attacks that killed dozens of members of the military, but it also responded by killing a number of terrorist leaders, headed by Leader of Uqba Ibn Nafi Brigades militant group Khaled al-Shayeb, aka Luqman Abu Sakhr.