Tunisia says 127 arrests since militant beach massacre
Tunisian authorities have arrested 127 suspected “terrorists” since last month's massacre of tourists at a beach resort
Tunisian authorities have arrested 127 suspected “terrorists” since last month's massacre of tourists at a beach resort, the minister heading the crisis group on the incident said Saturday.
“Since the attack, the security forces have carried out more than 700 operations resulting in the arrests of 127 suspected members of terrorist gangs,” Kamel Jendoubi said.
The June 26 shooting rampage by a Tunisian student at Port El Kantaoui killed 30 Britons, three Irish nationals, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and a Russian, and was claimed by the Islamic State group.
Jendoubi did not specify how many of the 127 people detained were being held for their suspected involvement in the beach attack.
He had earlier announced the arrest of eight people suspected of having direct links to it.
The minister stressed the government's determination to protect “the country, citizens and nationals of foreign countries”.
“Today, more than 100,000 police, national guard and civil protection officers in addition to the army” have been deployed, Jendoubi said.
Around 3,000 security guards were protecting beaches, hotels and archaeological sites in the country, he said.
Jendoubi also reiterated the government's “regret” at Britain's decision to repatriate citizens from the North African country, saying “there is no new evidence suggesting the imminence” of an attack.
On Thursday, Britain urged its nationals to cut short their holidays in Tunisia after London warned the country was still unsafe after the massacre.
Denmark followed suit on Friday.
Jendoubi said Prime Minister Habib Essid had spoken to his British counterpart David Cameron on Friday, but did not elaborate.
The Port El Kantaoui attack was the second to target foreign tourists in just over three months. On March 18, 21 tourists and a policeman were killed in a gun attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.
Both that attack and last month's rampage were claimed by the Islamic State group.