Tunisia shuts borders with Libya for 15 days

Tunisia shuts its frontiers with neighbouring Libya for 15 days, after deadly bus attack claimed by DAESH kills 13 people

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A sanitary service worker cleans the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Tunis, Tunisia November 25, 2015

Tunisia will close its frontiers with its eastern neighbour, Libya, for 15 days in addition to hiring 6,000 more recruits for security forces across the country, the Tunisian presidency's office said on Wednesday.

The extraordinary security measures taken in Tunisia come after a deadly bus attack killed 12 people. A suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus carrying presidential guards in the center of the capital Tunis. A 30 day state of emergency was also announced one day after the attack.

"This attack is an evolution in the behavior of the terrorists, this time they attacked a symbol of the state and in the heart of the capital," Prime Minister Habib Essid told reporters after an emergency security meeting.

"The attacker was wearing a bag on his back. He had on a coat and was wearing headphones. He blew himself up just getting into the door of the bus with military explosives," Hichem Gharbi, a presidential security official, told local radio.

Abou Abdallah al-Tounissi, a Tunisian, boarded a bus wearing an explosives belt only a few hundred metes (yards) from the interior ministry as it picked up guards on their way to work Tuesday. DAESH puts the death toll from the attack as high as 20.

"The Tyrants of Tunisia must know there is no safety for them. We will not stop until the laws of Allah are applied to Tunisia," the DAESH announcement said.

The presidency's statement said the Tunisian state will protect itself against Tunisian nationals returning from war zones like Iraq, or Syria, since the terrorist organisation currently controls large swathes of land in both formerly mentioned countries.

It also said the authorities will "take urgent measures regarding people returning from hotbeds of conflict, in line with the anti-terrorist law and that "reinforced surveillance of maritime borders and in airports" will be a crucial part of the measures followed after the tragic attack.  Internet sites linked to terrorism will also be blocked.

The United States condemned the latest attack and offered to help Tunisia with its investigation.

"Terrorists have sought to use fear and violence to undermine the important gains the Tunisian people have made in pursuit of a democratic, stable, and prosperous country," the White House said.

DEASH attacks in Tunisia

The nation that kickstarted the Arab spring in December 2010 has suffered a great deal from terrorist attacks carried out by DAESH in addition to being the homeland of many DAESH militants.

In June, DAESH gunmen went on a shooting rampage in the Mediterranean resort of Sousse, killing 38 foreign tourists, mostly Britons. After the attack Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency.

In March, two DAESH militants stormed the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, killing 21 tourists and a policeman.

Sousse is one of Tunisia's most popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors from Europe and neighbouring North African countries. Tunisia lost at least $515 million in tourism income following the beach attack.

Tunisia is considered a role model and a beacon of hope when it comes to peaceful post-revolution democratic trasitions. Ever since the overthrow of long time autocrat Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, several countries including Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria have had revolutions, however, Tunisia is the only such country to have successfully embraced democracy so far.

TRTWorld and agencies