Post-tourist attack: State of emergency declared in Tunisia

President delegates more authority to army, police


Reuters July 05, 2015
Tunisian policemen patrol the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis, on June 28, 2015, following a shooting attack two days earlier. PHOTO: AFP

TUNIS: Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency on Saturday to give his government more powers following an militant attack on a beach hotel, where 38 foreign tourists, mostly Britons, were killed.

Tunisia's emergency law temporarily gives the government more executive flexibility, hands the army and police more authority, and restricts certain rights such as the right to public assembly. The attack on the Sousse beach resort last Friday followed a gun attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March - two of the worst militant assaults in Tunisia's modern history, and a pressing threat to its vital tourist industry.

Tunisian officials say all three gunmen in those two attacks had been trained at the same time, over the border in camps in Libya, where a conflict between two rival governments has allowed militant groups to gain ground.

Tunisia last had a state of emergency during the 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. In reaction to militant recruiters, the government says it will close 80 mosques that are operating illegally or preaching extremist messages.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.

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