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Tunisia arrests 4 militants after firefight

January 2, 2014

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia says four militants have been arrested after late-night gunbattles between militants and security forces in the southern city that was the cradle for the Arab Spring revolutions.

Thursday’s statement by the Interior Ministry said the arrests followed clashes in the impoverished city of Sidi Bouzid. Police also confiscated explosives, money, ammunition and an assault rifle.

Police say those arrested belonged to Ansar al-Shariah, a banned ultraconservative Islamist group linked to terrorist attacks and the September 2012 assault on the U.S. embassy in Tunis.

Tunisian media reported Monday that the group’s leader, Seifallah Ben Hassine, had been arrested in Libya but there has been no official confirmation.

Tunisia overthrew its long-ruling dictator in January 2011 after nationwide protests that began in Sidi Bouzid.

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