Tunisian officials say elite police squads have killed two "dangerous armed terrorists" and arrested 16 others in an operation in a housing project not far from Tunis, the capital.

A statement by the Interior Ministry said a large quantity of arms had been seized in Wednesday's operation in Menihla, about 10 kilometers (six miles) outside Tunis. The ministry described the operation as "complex" but did not elaborate.

The identities of those killed and arrested were not made public.

Menihla is known as a place where religious extremists gather.

This North African nation has been battling extremist violence as it tries to move forward in a fragile economic and political environment. Two brutal attacks last year, on a luxury beach resort and a noted museum, killed scores of people, mainly foreigners.