ALGIERS (AA) – Algerian authorities have arrested 17 militants, including a Tunisian member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to a security source.
“Security agencies wrapped up operations against three terrorist cells, including one affiliated with ISIL, on Friday,” the security source told Anadolu Agency, on condition of anonymity.
He said the ISIL member is a Tunisian national who had returned from Syria only a few months ago.
“The suspect was trying to reenter Tunisia, having sneaked into Algeria earlier to receive treatment from a chronic disease at a medical center in the northeastern city of Annaba,” added the source.
ISIL has overrun large parts of western and northern Iraq and western and northern Syria, being engaged in fierce battles with the armies of both countries.
The group claims it wants to establish a caliphate (Islamic state) in place of current Arab states in North Africa, the Levant and the Arab Peninsula.
The security source said the remaining 16 militants were arrested in Algeria’s southernmost province of Adrar, the southern province of Medea and the capital Algiers.
The Algerian army has been clamping down on terrorists across the country for several months now.
The crackdown has resulted in the killing of 36 suspected terrorists since early March, according to a statement by the Algerian Defense Ministry.
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