Tunisia thwarts suicide attack on tourism resort by woman extremist

The 22-year-old Tunisian was arrested on January 10 after returning from Turkey and Syria.

Tunisia’s interior ministry said Friday it had foiled a “terrorist” attack, with the arrest of a woman returning from Syria who was planning a suicide bombing at a tourist resort.

No details were given about the targeted tourism resort.

The 22-year-old Tunisian was arrested at Tunis airport on January 10, the ministry said in a statement.

She had travelled to Turkey in 2020, then last year reached Syria, where unspecified extremist groups trained her for a suicide bombing, it said.

Tunisian authorities have also arrested another “terrorist” who was planning to provide her with an explosive belt, it added.

He was also “involved in planning and preparation of terrorist operations in late 2021 targeting important state officials”. He has been since arrested and remains in jail.

Anti-Islamist political leader Abir Moussi criticized the authorities Friday for not holding accountable those in the country who were behind the recruitment and facilitation of travel to Syria and Iraq of Tunisian youths.

The arrest of the suspected terrorist served as a reminder of the threat posed to the country by hundreds of Tunisians who travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group and other extremist groups. Thousands were prevented from travelling there after 2014.

Tunisian security forces have preepmted most extremist plots and dismantled many jihadist networks in recent years as the authorities have regained the initiative in the anti-terrorism fight.

The country’s security agencies have become more efficient in the counter terrorism fight, Western diplomats say.

In November police shot and wounded an extremist who sought to attack them with a knife and cleaver in the capital.

In 2016, security forces, with the help of local inhabitants, thwarted a major ISIS attack on Ben Guerdane, a small town on the Tunisia-Libyan border.

The last major attacks targeting foreign tourists in Tunisia took place in 2015 when extremists claiming allegiance to ISIS killed scores of people in two separate assaults at the Bardo Museum in Tunis and a beach resort in Sousse.

An electronic border fence has been built since then on the border.


Arab Observer

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