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US Delivers Humvees, Patrol Boat to Tunisia to Boost Security

  • Reuters

The United States delivered 52 Humvee military vehicles and a patrol boat to Tunisia on Thursday to help it fight jihadists and tighten control over its coast, U.S. embassy said.

Since a 2011 uprising that toppled Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has had a much less turbulent transition toward democracy than its North Africa neighbors, especially Libya.

But it has also seen a rise in Islamist militancy. Last month, gunmen stormed the Bardo national museum in the capital Tunis, killing 20 foreign tourists in an attack for which the militant Islamic State group claimed responsibility. It was the country's deadliest militant attack in more than a decade.

After the attack, the United States said it would increase military aid to Tunisia threefold this year to $180 million and help train its troops.

The 52 vehicles aim "to improve force mobility" of the Tunisian army, the U.S. embassy in Tunis said in a statement. The embassy also announced the delivery of a 65-foot patrol boat to enhance maritime security and intensify the maritime border control patrols.

Tunisian authorities are concerned that violence will spill over from Libya, where two rival governments and several armed groups are embroiled in a bitter power struggle four years after the ousting of Muammar Gadhafi.

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