Tunisian special forces take position during clashes with militants in the southern town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, on March 7, 2016. Tunisian forces fought off fierce attacks from 'terrorists' near the Libyan border killing 28 extremist fighters in clashes that also left seven civilians dead. Fathi Nasri/AFP
Tunisian special forces take position during clashes with militants in the southern town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, on March 7, 2016. Tunisian forces fought off fierce attacks from 'terrShow more

Fierce clashes along Tunisia-Libya border kill 45 including civilians



TUNIS, TUNISIA // At least 45 people were killed on Monday near Tunisia’s border with Libya in one of the deadliest clashes seen so far between Tunisian forces and extremist attackers.

The fighting in the border town of Ben Guerdane in eastern Tunisia comes amid increasing concern that violent extremism in Libya could destabilise the region.

The government closed its two border crossings with Libya because of the attack that left 28 “terrorists”, seven civilians and 10 members of Tunisia’s security forces dead, the Tunisian interior and defence ministries said. A 12-year-old girl was among those who were killed.

President Beji Caid Sebsi denounced Monday’s attacks on police and army posts near his country’s border with Libya.

He called the attacks “unprecedented and coordinated”, and said that they could have been aimed at controlling the region in order to proclaim a “new [jihadist] province”.

“The Tunisian people are at war with this barbarism and with these rats and we will exterminate them ... definitively,” said Mr Caid Sebsi.

Tunisia has seen an emergence of radical Islam since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocratic strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who suppressed opponents including extremists.

In recent years a large number of Tunisians have joined ISIL in Libya, where authorities say they have been trained to carry out attacks at home.

Five years after the uprising that led to the ousting and killing of longtime autocrat Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Libya’s chaos has allowed ISIL to take control of several cities.

The divided country is ruled by two parliaments: an internationally recognised body based in the eastern city of Tobruk and a rival government, backed by allied militias, that controls the capital of Tripoli.

Tunisia’s fledgling democratic government is especially worried about the presence of ISIL in Libya after dozens of tourists were killed in extremist attacks in the country last year.

On Monday, gunmen targeted a police station and military facilities at dawn in Ben Guerdane, interior ministry spokesman Yasser Mosbah said. A night curfew has been ordered in Ben Guerdane until further notice.

France’s foreign ministry condemned the attacks and identified the gunmen as “terrorists coming from Libyan territory”.

“This attack is just reinforcing the urgent need for a political solution in Libya,” the ministry said, adding that the country was targeted because of its “exemplary democratic transition”.

Hospital official Abdelkrim Sakroud said that three corpses had been brought in, including that of the 12-year-old girl.

The Tunisian military sent reinforcements and helicopters to the area around Ben Guerdane and authorities were hunting several attackers still at large. Officials urged residents to stay indoors.

Last week, Tunisian security forces killed five heavily-armed men in an hours-long firefight after they crossed into the country from Libya with a larger group. Tunisian security forces had been placed on alert based on “precise information” of possible border infiltrations following a February 19 US raid on an ISIL camp near the Libyan town of Sabratha, not far from the Tunisian border.

Defence minister Farhat Horchani said last week that German and American security experts were coming to Tunis on Monday to help Tunisia devise a new electronic video-surveillance system of its border with Libya.

Tunisia was targeted last year by three ISIL-claimed attacks that left 70 people dead. According to Tunisian authorities, the attackers had been trained in Libya.

* Associated Press and Agence France-Presse

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Rating: 2/5

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Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company profile

Name: Yabi by Souqalmal 

Started: May 2022, launched June 2023

Founder: Ambareen Musa

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Initial investment: undisclosed but soon to be announced 

Number of staff: 12 

Investment stage: seed  

Investors: Shuaa Capital

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS

Qualifier A, Muscat

(All matches to be streamed live on icc.tv) 

Fixtures

Friday, February 18: 10am Oman v Nepal, Canada v Philippines; 2pm Ireland v UAE, Germany v Bahrain 

Saturday, February 19: 10am Oman v Canada, Nepal v Philippines; 2pm UAE v Germany, Ireland v Bahrain 

Monday, February 21: 10am Ireland v Germany, UAE v Bahrain; 2pm Nepal v Canada, Oman v Philippines 

Tuesday, February 22: 2pm Semi-finals 

Thursday, February 24: 2pm Final 

UAE squad:Ahmed Raza(captain), Muhammad Waseem, Chirag Suri, Vriitya Aravind, Rohan Mustafa, Kashif Daud, Zahoor Khan, Alishan Sharafu, Raja Akifullah, Karthik Meiyappan, Junaid Siddique, Basil Hameed, Zafar Farid, Mohammed Boota, Mohammed Usman, Rahul Bhatia

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Coal Black Mornings

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FROM THE ASHES

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Starring: Shaima Al Tayeb, Wafa Muhamad, Hamss Bandar

Rating: 3/5

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Where to buy

Limited-edition art prints of The Sofa Series: Sultani can be acquired from Reem El Mutwalli at www.reemelmutwalli.com

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Company profile

Name: JustClean

Based: Dubai with offices in other GCC countries

Launch year: 2016

Number of employees: 160+ with 21 nationalities in eight cities

Sector:
online laundry and cleaning services

Funding: $30m from Kuwait-based Faith Capital Holding and Gulf Investment Corporation


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