In wake of the deadly terror attack claimed by the Islamic State, Tunisia PM Habib Essid has announced that around 80 mosques that are known to be preaching extremist and violence will be closed within a week.
The decision to close renegade mosques is a part of a slew of measures that the terror-stricken country has taken in the aftermath of an ISIS attack on Hotel Imperial Marhaba in the coastal city of Sousse where a young man in early twenties pulled a Kalashnikov beneath his parasol and started firing at people, mainly foreigners killing 38 and wounding dozens of others.
Most of those killed were British.
The attacker has been identified as 24-year-old Seifeddine Rezgui, a young student at Kairouan University, from the town of Gaafour in northern Tunisia.
According to the Site Intelligence group, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, identifying the attacker by his jihadi pseudonym, Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani.
Speaking to a news conference, an apparently fatigued Tunisan PM Habib Essid said, “The fight against terrorism is a national responsibility”.
“We are at war against terrorism which represents a serious danger to national unity during this delicate period that the nation is going through,” he said.
The attack came the same day that a suicide bomber killed 27 people in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait and a man in France ran his truck into a warehouse and hung his employer’s severed head on the gate.
Essid announced the call-up of army reservists and said they would be deployed in tourist sites around the country and inside hotels, while he called on the hotels themselves to do more to enforce security.
He also said that political parties and associations espousing radical ideas with suspicious funding would be closed down and around 80 mosques known for extremist preaching would be shut.
The government has been criticized for its lackluster anti-terror measures, especially since 22 people were killed by gunmen at the national museum in March. There was also been a failed suicide bomb attack in Sousse in 2013.
Top security official Rafik Chelli said Friday that heightened security measures had been in place for the summer season around the hotel and security had responded quickly to the attack.
“The attack is an isolated operation of the sort that could affect anyone,” he said, noting that just days earlier two other planned attacks had been thwarted.
The attack in Kuwait was also claimed by the Islamic State and on Saturday thousands of people took part in a mass funeral procession. Police said they are interrogating a number of suspects with possible links to the bombing, which was claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State group.