Tunisia president declares emergency

2015-07-04 19:40


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Tunis - Tunisian President Beji Caid Essibsi on Saturday declared a state of emergency in the country, a week after 38 tourists were killed in an attack on a holiday resort in Sousse.

"I have decided to declare the state of emergency throughout Tunisia for 30 days," Essibsi said in a televised address.

"We are facing a serious danger ... we are in a state of war."

The move gives army and police forces wide powers in securing the country against militant attacks.

On June 26, a gunman opened fire on sunbathers on a beach in the resort city of Sousse.

The authorities identified the perpetrator as Seifeddin Rezgui, a Tunisian student, who was killed by police.

The Islamic State terrorist group, which has established a foothold in chaotic Libya, claimed responsibility for Tunisia's worst-ever terrorist attack.


In the aftermath, Tunisia announced a raft of security measures, including closing down more than 80 mosques accused of inciting militancy.

They also include deploying security forces in tourist areas and revising licences of political groups suspected of links with jihadists.

Essibsi, who took office in December, called the Sousse rampage a "big tragedy."

He accused Islamic State, which is also active in Syria and Iraq, of coveting Tunisia's nascent democracy.

"We have a constitution for a civil [secular] state while terrorism wants to establish a caliphate."

In March, gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman in an attack on the Bardo Museum in the capital, Tunis.

The Islamic State claimed credit for that attack.

Tunisia is widely seen as the sole success story of the wave of popular uprisings that swept across the Arab region in 2011.

The tourism industry is one of the key employers in Tunisia, which has witnessed a rise in militant attacks since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Read more on:    beji caid essibsi  |  tunisia  |  north africa  |  tunisia attack

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