Tunisia vows tougher security after resort attack

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 27.06.2015 21:06
Updated 27.06.2015 23:56
emEPA Photo/em
EPA Photo

The Tunisian government said Saturday a string of new security measures including closing 80 mosques accused of instigating violence and calling up army reservists, aday after a gunman rampaged through a beach resort in Sousse that killed 38 people, mostly foreign tourists.

"All 80 mosques will close within a week," Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said.

Meanwhile, tourists crowded into the airport at Hammamet near the coastal city of Soussein wake of the country's worst terrorist attack ever. Minister Essid said most victims of the attack were Britons, then come the Germans, Belgians and other nationalities. At least 15 victims were British, according to the U.K. foreign minister.

"The fight against terrorism is a national responsibility," Essid said. "We are at war against terrorism which represents a serious danger to national unity during this delicate period that the nation is going through."

Essid said that his country would take "exceptional extra security" steps especially at tourist and archaeological sites, in an attempt to salvage the tourism industry, which is a key source of Tunisia's income.

The security plan features deployment of "armed tourist security personnel inside all hotels and along the Tunisian coast."

Tourism accounts for nearly 15 per cent of Tunisia's gross domestic product.

Essid said that a number of mountainous areas, believed to be militant strongholds in Tunisia, would be declared closed military zones to facilitate hunting for suspected extremists.

Reserve troops will also be called to strengthen security in all places that might be a target of terrorist attacks.

"The government will also dissolve unlawful political parties and associations," Essid said, referring to groups suspected of promoting radicalism.

Friday's attack is believed to have been carried out by a lone gunman, who opened fire on a beach crowded with foreign tourists in the coastal resort city of Sousse.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militia claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the assailant by a militant nom due guerre of Abu Yahya al-Kairouani.

The attack prompted many foreign tourists to cut short their holidays in the North African country.

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