UK to send troops to Tunisia to prevent DAESH crossings

British Defence Minister Michael Fallon says Britain will send troops to Tunisia so as to stop DAESH terorrists from crossing into country from Libyan border

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon leaves Downing Street in London on February 20 , 2016 after a meeting of the cabinet.

Britain will send troops to Tunisia to prevent DAESH terrorists from crossing the Libyan border, the British defence minister said.

"A training team of some 20 troops from the 4th Infantry Brigade is now moving to Tunisia to help to counter illegal cross-border movement from Libya in support of the Tunisian authorities," Michael Fallon told British Parliament on Monday.

The decision urged after increasing Western concern that DAESH plans use Libya as a base to organize and carry out attacks. 30 British tourists were killed when a terrorist attacked a beach at a hotel on Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast last June.

"I ... am extremely concerned about the proliferation of DAESH along the Libyan coastline, which is why we have been urgently assisting the formation of a new Libyan government," Fallon said.

Militant groups have taken advantage of political chaos to expand their presence in Libya, and DAESH terrorist group have taken control of the coastal city of Sirte.

Western officials say they are discussing air strikes and special force operations in Libya against the terrorist group that has aspirations to extend its territorial control in the country and has already seized large areas of Syria and Iraq.

Fallon reported that Britain was not currently planning to deploy ground troops to Libya in a combat role.

"Before taking any military action in Libya, we would seek an invitation from the new Libyan Government," he said.

Germany to train Libyan forces in Tunisia

Tunisia's government backs a plan for German forces to come to the country to train troops from neighbouring Libya for the fight against DAESH, the Tunisian defence minister said on Tuesday.

Last week a German delegation visited Tunisia to discuss a training programme for Libyan forces.

"We agree on the principle of the project," Tunisian Defence Minister Farhat Harchani said in an interview with the TAP state news agency.

He gave no details on the nature of the training or when it might happen, but said Tunisian forces would also take part.

"We will participate in the formation of the nucleus of the Libyan army and security forces in Tunisia. This is our duty and we will help Libya to get it done," he said.

Tunisia recently completed a 200-km barrier consisting of an earth wall and trenches along its frontier with Libya, aimed at stopping militants from crossing the border.

European and US military trainers are to instruct Tunisian forces on improving electronic surveillance there.

TRTWorld and agencies