Missing Tunisia soldier found dead after jihadist attack

An Army ambulance carrying Tunisian soldiers, injured following an attack near the Algerian border, arrives at a hospital in Kasserine on July 17, 2014 (AFP Photo/Rzouga Khlifi)

Tunis (AFP) - The body of a soldier missing after a deadly attack on two army posts by suspected jihadists in Tunisia's restive western border region was found Friday, the government said, raising the toll to 15.

"During a sweep carried out by the army in the military zone on Mount Chaambi, the soldier Walid Ben Abdallah was found dead of wounds that he sustained during the terrorist attack" on Wednesday, a source at the defence ministry told AFP.

The soldier's body was found around a kilometre (0.6 mile) from the scene of the attack, the source added.

The ministry said the soldier "bravely defended the post that he was manning" and "died a martyr fighting for his country".

The attack that took place on Wednesday evening as the soldiers were breaking their day-long Ramadan fast was the deadliest in the army's history.

The authorities say between 40 and 60 gunmen opened fire on twin army posts with machineguns and grenade launchers in the mountainous border region, where since late 2012 the security forces have been hunting Islamists militants allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda.

Eighteen soldiers were also wounded in the attack, and one of the assailants killed.

The government said the militants' aim was to undermine Tunisia's political transition by disrupting the upcoming parliamentary and presidential polls, and vowed not to let the attack go unpunished.

Nearly four years after the revolution that toppled former autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians will be called to vote in the legislative election on October 26, with the first round of the presidential vote due to take place a month later.