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Tunisia army clashes with militants in mountains, two killed: ministry

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia troops clashed with armed Islamist militants in the remote mountains near the Algerian border on Friday, killing two of them, arresting another and seizing weapons, the defense ministry said.

It said the operation took place in Samamma mountains where the security forces since 2015 have been trying to contain small brigades of al Qaeda-linked militants who have used the remote region as a base.

Tunisian forces have been cracking down on militants since 2015 when Islamic State claimed attacks by gunmen against foreign tourists. Officials are also concerned about the return of several thousand Tunisians who left to fight for Islamist militant groups in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; writing by Patrick Markey)