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Tunisia extends state of emergency

By AFP - Oct 07,2018 - Last updated at Oct 07,2018

TUNIS — Tunisia’s presidency on Friday announced the extension of the country’s state of emergency, imposed in 2015 following a series of deadly extremist attacks.

The decision to prolong the state of emergency until November 6 comes amid a tense political climate ahead of legislative and presidential elections planned for next year.

President Beji Caid Essebsi took the decision after meeting with the ministers of defence and interior, his office said without giving a reason for the extension.

They discussed “the security and military situation in the country and at the borders”, according to a statement.

The president also consulted Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, despite strained relations between the two.

The state of emergency grants exceptional powers to security forces, allowing them to ban strikes and meetings “likely to provoke... disorder”.

It also includes measures to “assume control of the press”.

The nationwide state of emergency was declared on November 24, 2015, after an attack in the capital Tunis which killed 12 presidential guards.

The suicide bombing was claimed by the Daesh group.

Earlier the same year attacks by Daesh extremists on the capital’s Bardo museum and the coastal resort of Sousse left 59 tourists and a policeman dead.

The most recent large-scale assault came in March 2016, when dozens of extremists attacked security installations in the town of Ben Guerdane on the Libyan border.

Thirteen security forces and seven civilians were killed.

In Tunisia, which since its 2011 revolution has seen the emergence of extremist groups, soldiers and police officers continue to be targeted particularly in mountainous areas bordering Algeria.

On Wednesday, two soldiers were killed in a land mine blast during an anti-terrorist operation on Mount Chaambi near the Algerian frontier.

Okba Ibn Nafaa, a Tunisia-based division of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), is present in the area.

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