Tunisia closes 80 mosques after beach resort attack

80 ‘Propagandist’ mosques to be shut down in Tunisia within a week, following hotel resorts attack on Friday

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Tunisian government has decided to close 80 mosques "out of state control" for inciting violence as part of several immediate measures taken after the armed attack on a beach resort hotel in Sousse yesterday, which killed about 39 people.

Tunisian Prime minister Habib Essid announced during a news conference on Friday evening that the government has decided to close 80 mosques operating outside the law within a week, adding that legal action would be taken against parties and associations that violate Tunisia’s constitution.

Essid revealed that most of those killed in the attack were British citizens - in addition to German, Belgian and French citizens - and said that the authorities have decided to invite the Army Reserve to enhance security in sensitive areas as well as deploy armed units around tourist areas.

The death toll rose to 39 in the Imperial Marhaba hotel attack in the eastern Sousse city of Tunisia on Friday, the Tunisian Interior Ministry announced. The number of casualties and injured could rise further.

Most of those killed in the attack were British, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid told a news conference on Saturday.

Secretary of State for Security affairs Rafik Chelli, said the attack was organised by a university student from Kairouan city.

Photos of the incident surfaced on social media, showing several people in bathing suits dead on the beach. Following an exchange of gunfire there were casualties, with one gunman shot dead by police, according to Reuters.

The unnamed official said the gunmen were armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Aside from the one attacker who was shot dead, it is yet to be announced how many other assailants took part in the attack.

Sousse is one of Tunisia's most popular beach resorts, drawing visitors from Europe and neighbouring North African countries.

Tunisia has been on high alert since March when militant gunmen attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis, killing a group of foreign tourists in one of the worst attacks in a decade in the North African country.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted by a Twitter account.

TRTWorld and agencies