Tunisia declares state of emergency

Tunisian president declares state of emergency following beach attack in resort of Sousse last week

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency in his country on Saturday. It comes after the bloody shooting spree on a beach in the resort of Sousse on June 26 which killed 38 tourists.

Tunisia's government said on Tuesday that the Tunisian gunman who carried out the deadly attack in Sousse was trained in a Libyan militant camp last year.

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid has taken part in a minute's silence to remember the 38 people who were killed in the attack.

Most of the victims of the killings in Sousse were Britons. British media analysed the attack and said it took place over a stretch of 35 minutes and that the attacker was able to return to the scene to kill more people, thus leading to accusations that police forces were too slow in containing the catastrophe.

Prime Minister Essid responded to the allegations by telling the BBC’s Richard Galpin, "The time of the reaction - this is the problem.Police had been "blocked everywhere," he added.

"We feel really sorry about what happened," he said. "They were our guests. They came to spend their vacation with us, but what happened is a horror, unacceptable."

Thestate of emergency temporarily gives the government, as well as the army and police, more flexibility and authority. The newly imposed law will restrict the right of public assembly.

The last time a state of emergency was announced was in 2011, during the national uprising that overthrew former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

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

Tunisia has lost at least $515 million in tourism income following the beach attack.

TRTWorld and agencies