Tunisia: Ansar al-Sharia Inaugurates Era of Suicide Bombers

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Tunisian security forces inspect a beach after a failed suicide bomb attack near the four-star Riadh Palms hotel, in the resort town of Sousse, a popular tourist destination 140 kilometres (90 miles) south of Tunis, on October 30, 2013. (Photo: AFP - STR)

By: Noureddine Baltayeb

Published Friday, November 1, 2013

Tunis – Tunisia inaugurated its era of suicide bombings on Wednesday, October 30, when a 21-year-old man blew himself up in the tourist town of Sousse, located south of the capital Tunis. Meanwhile, security forces were foiling an attempt to blow up former president Habib Bourguiba's mausoleum in the adjacent city of Mustanir.

The young man who tried to blow up the mausoleum was an 18-year-old from Zaghouan, located west of the capital, whose attempt to travel to Syria failed. Last year, he became well-known when photographed removing Tunisia's flag and replacing it with the black Salafi flag at Manouba University in March 2012.

The Tunisian Interior Ministry asserted that both young men belonged to Ansar al-Sharia, which is classified by the government as a terrorist organization.

The attacks in Sousse and Mustanir, two of Tunisia's major tourist towns, are the latest blows to the country’s tourism industry, which has stagnated since the revolution and the ascendance of the troika to power. One in 10 tunisians are directly employed in the tourism sector.

The Ennahda party was first to condemn the Sousse and Mustanir incidents. Around 80 percent of Tunisians say Ennahda are responsible for the crisis engulfing the country, which threatens the continuity of the state and the cohesion of the social fabric, according to a recent survey.

In the same vein, a large proportion of Tunisians consider interim President Mohamed Moncef Marzouki to also be responsible for the epidemic of terrorism in the country. His party, Congress for the Republic (CPR), is one of the pillars of the troika, next to Ettakatol (Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties), and Ennahda.

Marzouki has often opened his office door to extremists and was one of the most prominent figures to call for a general amnesty, allowing dozens of those involved in terrorist operations to be assimilated into civil service. Some of them became involved in the recent terrorist attacks around the country. Others traveled to Syria to fight with the armed opposition.

To the east, a Libyan smuggler was killed in the city of Ben Gardan near the Libyan border, attempting to sneak into Tunisia in a 4x4, later discovered to be carrying several AK-47s. He was shot by security forces for refusing to stop at the security checkpoint.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian presidency issued a statement calling on citizens to cooperate with the security forces and the army. It said that fighting terrorism is a national duty and not only the responsibility of the security forces and the army.

The reality of Tunisia’s security situation shows that the country’s democratic path is at risk of failure. Tunisia could turn into a safe haven for terrorists, who are benefiting from the lawlessness after the fall of the former regime and the state of confusion in the security forces.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

where there is islam, there is violence and poverty

Hilarious, these people are barking mad. Their preferred way of getting people to accept their pathology is to blow themselves up.

The name of the town is Monastir and not Mustanir.

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