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Tunisian forces end 24-hour standoff and raid home of suspected militants, killing 6 people

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TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisian counterterrorism forces stormed a home in a Tunis suburb on Friday after a 24-hour standoff, killing six people and seriously wounding a child, an official said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui described the six women and one man killed as "terrorists" and said they had opened fire on the government forces. This is the first reported case of women taking up arms against the government in Tunisia.

He said the women were planning on traveling to Syria to join extremist groups and that one of them held the child in her arms while shooting at the soldiers. Another child was lightly wounded in the confrontation.

PHOTO: Tunisian soldiers celebrate at the end of a successful raid against gunmen in the Oued Ellil suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Tunisian authorities stormed the home of suspected militants to end a 24-hour standoff Friday, leaving five women and one man dead in a suburb of Tunis, the capital. Responding to a tipoff Thursday, police had surrounded the home in Oued Ellil and were shot at by the inhabitants, who killed one policeman. One gunman was killed and another captured during the Friday morning raid and one child and a security forces member were wounded, the state news agency said.( AP Photo/Aimen Zine)
Tunisian soldiers celebrate at the end of a successful raid against gunmen in the Oued Ellil suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Tunisian authorities stormed the home of suspected militants to end a 24-hour standoff Friday, leaving five women and one man dead in a suburb of Tunis, the capital. Responding to a tipoff Thursday, police had surrounded the home in Oued Ellil and were shot at by the inhabitants, who killed one policeman. One gunman was killed and another captured during the Friday morning raid and one child and a security forces member were wounded, the state news agency said.( AP Photo/Aimen Zine)

The mother of the children and another man were arrested.

Aroui said the existence of the hideout in the suburb of Oued Elil was discovered after the father of the children was arrested with another man in the southern city of Kebili on Thursday while carrying assault rifles and planning terrorist attacks.

Tunisia is holding key a parliamentary election Sunday, hoping to complete its democratic transition after the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. There have been warnings by the government that terrorists would seek to disrupt the vote.

In recent weeks, Tunisian security forces have conducted a string of operations aimed at dismantling extremist cells.

According to government figures, at least 2,500 Tunisians have left to join extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

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