Soldiers patrol during a military operation to eliminate militants in a village some 50 km from the town of Ben Guerdane, Tunisia, near the Libyan border, March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
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The signal to attack came from the mosque, sending dozens of Islamist fighters storming through the Tunisian town of Ben Guerdan to hit army and police posts in street battles that lit the dawn sky with tracer bullets.Hours later, 36 militants were dead, along with 12 soldiers and seven civilians, in an assault authorities described as an attempt by Daesh to carve out terrain in Tunisia.Whether Daesh aimed to hold territory as they have in Iraq, Syria and Libya, or intended only to dent Tunisia's already battered security, is unclear and the group has yet to officially claim the attack.Most of the militants appear to have been already in the town, with a few brought in from Libya.Troops have killed 14 more militants around Ben Guerdan since Monday.Tunisian security sources say many are with Daesh in Libya.After a U.S. airstrike killed 40 mostly Tunisian militants in the Libyan town of Sabratha last month, Tunisian forces went on alert for any cross-border incursions.
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