Tunisia counterterrorism unit dismantles ISIS recruitment cells

Friday 02/10/2015
On high alert against possible attacks

TUNIS - Police in Tunisia broke up three splinter groups that were recruiting Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to join militants in other Muslim-majority countries in the region, the Tunisian Ministry of Interior said.

Eleven people suspected of trying to join the groups in Libya were arrested.

Tunisia has been on high alert against possible attacks since Islamist gunmen killed 21 tourists in March at the popular Bardo Museum in Tunis. In June, a man shot dead 38 foreigners at a beach hotel in the southern city of Sousse.

Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for both attacks.

Officials said all three attackers were trained in jihadist camps over the border in Libya, where political chaos has allowed Islamist militants to grow in strength.

"The National Guard counterterrorism unit dismantled three cells which sent young people to Libya," the Interior Ministry said in statement late on Monday.

Last week, Tunisia seized two car bombs and weapons on the border with Libya. In July, the government began building a wall along the border to stop Islamist militants slipping across.

The government says that more than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamist militant groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Some of them have threatened to return home and carry out attacks on Tunisian soil.

Foreign nations have advised citizens to leave Tunisia and avoid travel to the region.

The British government in July announced that intelligence suggested another terrorist attack in the country was imminent.

At that time, approximately 2,500 to 3,000 British tourists were believed to be in Tunisia on holiday.