Al-Qaeda Tunisia offshoot offers backing to ISIS

Tunisian Salafists in 2012

An Al-Qaeda-linked Tunisian group has offered backing to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group, becoming the third militant group to do so this week, a U.S.-based monitor says.

Okba Ibn Nafaa, whose militants Tunisian armed forces have been hunting in mountains near the Algerian border for two years, has identified itself with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the international network’s North African branch.

On Tuesday, AQIM and the Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) urged militants in Iraq and Syria to unite against the common threat from a U.S.-led coalition assembled to fight ISIS.

“The mujahedeen brothers in the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade from … [Tunisia] are supporting, endorsing, and strongly sustaining the State of the Islamic Caliphate,” the group said, quoted by SITE Intelligence Group late Friday…