Tunis (Reuters) –
Tunisian police found 60kg of gold, worth around $2.3 million, as they checked vehicles for arms and militants on one of the main road links with the remote south of the country on Friday, state media reported.
Authorities have set up roadblocks on major routes, fearing Islamists may be planning attacks during New Year celebrations.
The North African country is still in flux after the revolt that toppled President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in early 2011 and inspired revolts across the Arab world.
Moderate Islamists oppressed by Ben Ali rose to power. But ultra-conservative Salafists – keen to impose an Islamic State – returned too, from exile or prison.
Police said it was too early to say where the gold had come from or where it was going.
“We cannot link every operation to the terrorism. An investigation is underway,” an interior ministry spokesman told Reuters.
The gold was found near the town of Al-Miknassi, close to Sidi Bouzid, where Tunisia’s uprising started.
(Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Andrew Heavens)