Lone wolf plot targeting tourism sites aborted in Tunisia

Suspect was radicalised while serving prison term abroad.
Thursday 09/07/2020
Police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an explosion near the US Embassy in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 6, 2020. (AFP)
Police and forensic experts inspect the scene of an explosion near the US Embassy in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 6, 2020. (AFP)

Tunis – A terror plot targeting tourism sites and official buildings in Tunisia was aborted by security forces, the country’s interior ministry announced Thursday.

The uncovering of the plot, the ministry said, was made possible by the arrest of a previously unknown individual who confessed to having been radicalised while serving a prison term for a non-terror offence in a foreign country.

The terror suspect said he decided to perpetrate a lone-wolf operation in Tunisia after being acquainted with a terror convict during his detention.

In Tunisia, the suspect recruited a number of ISIS sympathisers who were not known to security services to start identifying targets and preparing to carry out the operations.

The plot was pre-empted by the ministry’s anti-terror units with the arrest of the ringleader and his accomplices.

Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis’s famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. (AFP)
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis’s famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. (AFP)

The last lone wolf terror attack was carried out near the US Embassy in the northern suburbs of the Tunisian capital. One security officer and a would-be suicide bomber on a motorcycle were killed.

The last major terror acts were perpetrated in Tunisia in 2015. About 60 civilians, mostly foreign tourists, were killed in attacks on Tunis’s Bardo Museum and a beach resort in Sousse.

Since then, Tunisian security agencies have regained control of the situation, dismantling hundreds of terror cells and  aborting several operations. The Army and National Guard conduct regular anti-terror operations  against iihadist pockets in the western mountains on the Tunisian-Algerian border.

With the help of the US and Germany, a 200-km sand barrier and electronic fence were erected on the Tunisian-Libyan border to prevent jihadist infiltration.

The internet, mosques and prisons are the main venues for jihadist radicalisation in Tunisia.