Tunisia arrests the five Islamists who escaped from prison last week

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian security and military forces caught five Islamists who escaped from a prison last week, where they were serving time for killing two secular politicians and policemen.

The interior ministry said four of the escapees were captured on a mountain near Tunis early on Tuesday, while another was arrested, with the help of citizens, two days ago in the Ettadamen neighbourhood of the capital.

Security sources described the five men as “very dangerous terrorists”. The government sacked top intelligence officials after their escape, which was seen as a rare security breach.

Ahmed Malki, known as “the Somali”, was among the five. Malki had been serving a 24-year sentence for the assassination of secular politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013.

Jihadist groups have killed dozens of policemen, foreign tourists and others in Tunisia since the advent of democracy in 2011, though authorities have notched some successes, catching or killing prominent militants in recent years.

Remnants of Islamic State and al-Qaeda remain active in the mountains near the border with Algeria, security sources say.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)