Tunisian premier vows tough anti-terrorism measures after bus bombing

2015-11-25 18:56
New Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid. (Hassene Dridi, AP)

New Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid. (Hassene Dridi, AP)

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Tunis - Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid warned that his government would strictly enforce a curfew and anti-terrorism measures after 12 presidential guards were killed in a bombing.

"The terrorist operation was intended to shake the stability of the state and strike at the presidency," Essid said on Wednesday after a meeting of the government's crisis cell.

The Interior Ministry said 10kg of military explosives packed into a suicide belt or backpack were used to blow up the bus carrying elite members of the presidential guard in the heart of the capital, Tunis.

Investigators are examining a 13th corpse to determine whether it was that of a civilian victim or a suicide attacker. Officials have said they suspect the blast was a suicide bombing.

President Beji Caid Essibsi reimposed a state of emergency on Tuesday night in the wake of the attack. He also announced a night-time curfew in the greater Tunis area.

Life was slowly returning to normal in the city centre on Wednesday. The city's main street, Habib Bourguiba Avenue, was closed to traffic, but the adjoining Mohammed V Avenue where the attack took place was reopened.

The explosion was the third major attack this year by suspected jihadist militants to hit Tunisia - widely seen as the sole democratic success story of the 2010-11 Arab revolution.

Attacks targeting foreign tourists at the capital's Bardo museum in March and the beach resort of Sousse in June killed 60 people.

A state of emergency imposed after the Sousse attack expired in October.

Tunisian troops are engaged in an ongoing campaign against Islamist militants in their hideouts in the western highlands near the Algerian border.

Tunisia is estimated to be the largest single source of foreign jihadist fighters in the Syrian civil war. Authorities estimate the number of Tunisians fighting there at about 3 000.

Read more on:    habib essid  |  tunisia  |  north africa

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