After two days search operations on Jebel (Mount) Sammama, Governorate of Kasserine, which saw minor hit and run clashes by militants over the weekend of March 19-20, the Ministry of Defense released photos of the militant hideouts uncovered during the operations. Three soldiers were wounded during the search operations.
- On Saturday, March 19, Defense Ministry spokesman Belhassen Oueslati reported that a soldier had been wounded in clashes with militants early that morning.
- Following the incident search operations were reinforced, including aerial support from an army helicopter. On Sunday, March 20, another soldier was wounded in an exchange of fire and a second soldier had his leg amputated after detonating a land mine.
The Ministry of Defense’s statement and the photos released with that statement show anti personnel mines, bullet casings, a pistol, large amounts of food stuffs and other provisions and more mundane items such as a sewing machine and even utensils which could provide an indication as to the number of militants in the area when analyzed.
In mid-February simultaneous patrols were conducted on Jebel Sammama as well as Jebel Mghilla and Jebel Selloum which are also located in the mountainous region along the Tunisia Algeria border, where militants believed to belong to Okba Ibn Nafaa have operated.
In February the three search operations uncovered land mines, the shallow grave of a deceased militant and two camps used by militants, one of which included an explosives lab.
Both of the camps uncovered in February appeared more ‘functional’ and ‘lived in’ than the hideouts uncovered this weekend. The weapons discovered in February and in particular the explosives precursors, chemicals and items (such as detonators) intended for use in the manufacturing of IEDs (improvised explosives devices) were far more significant than this weekend’s find.