Thirty-three Tunisians reported to join ISIS

Tunisian authorities continue their search of 33 disappeared Tunisian residents claimed of joining ISIS

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tunisian police continue to investigate the disappearance of 33 residents on Friday after the families reported they had left overnight to join ISIS insurgents in neighbouring Libya, locals said.

The interior ministry said it was looking into the disappearance on Tuesday of the 33 residents of Remada, a small central town of 11,000 inhabitants bordering Libya.

"The town is really in shock," said Mbarka, a resident who said families had received messages from their relatives saying they had left for Libya.

Tunisian air force planes were searching for the group, which includes teenagers, along the Libyan border.

Faten Abd Elhak, fiance of the pilot who was one of the 33 disappeared, said that he had taken part in the past in bombardments against militant camps in the mountains. But he had become dissatisfied with the armed forces and wanted to leave, she said.

"It's true his brother was an extremist who didn't hide his desire to join Islamic State, but he himself was not an extremist," she told Reuters. "They have all left for Libya, some of them might want to join Islamic State, but not him."

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency on July 4 after his country was shaken by the deadly attack on the Imperial Marhaba beach resort of Sousse on June 26, which killed 38 tourists.

The armed militant responsible for the Sousse beach resort attack was proven to have been trained in Libya by ISIS wing in north Africa.

On March 18, two gunmen claimed to be ISIS militants stormed the bardo National Museum killing 22 people.

In response to the recent bloody attacks, Tunisian authorities plan to build 160-kilometre barrier wall on Libya border to monitor the flow of militants across the Tunisian border.

TRTWorld and agencies