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Tunisian Military Launches Air Strikes on Mountain-Based Militants

Smoke is seen billowing from the Mount Chaambi area during air strikes launched by Tunisian forces against Islamist militants near the Algerian border, August 2, 2013.
Tunisian forces launched air strikes and sent in troops Friday to surround suspected Islamist militants in the mountains near the Algerian border.

The military carried out the operation in the Chaambi area after fighting broke out Thursday. This is the same area where militants attacked and killed eight Tunisian solders earlier this week.

A military spokesman says it is targeting as many as 20 terrorist suspects.

Tunisia was the first Arab nation to overthrow an unpopular authoritarian government in the so-called "Arab Spring" in 2011.

But political turmoil and violence continues, including last week's assassination of opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi. The government blames al-Qaida-linked extremists for the killing.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.