LIBYAPROSPECT – Heba Mahmoud
Ben Guerdane attacks death toll increased to over 55 dead, the Tunisian Prime Minister, Habib Essaid, said that “they are not yet sure if the assailants came from Libya or they form sleeping cells inside Ben Guerdane in Tunisia”.
Essaid added, in a press conference, on Tuesday, that about 50 Islamic State (IS) elements attacked Ben Guerdane across the borders with Libya, seeking to announce “emirate inside Tunisia”.
Investigations with seven IS affiliates exposed their plans to announce “Islamic emirate” inside Ben Guerdane, by controlling security and military headquarters, causing chaos and exploiting sympathizers.
“The IS intended to announce emirate inside Ben Guerdane, they expected that inhabitants would help them, but our people showed their patriotism and helped the army”, Essaid said.
According to Reuters, Tunisian authorities found weapons caches, which confirms the IS plans inside Tunisia. Investigations led security services to three big weapons caches, including major military weapons. It is yet revealed whether the attackers crossed the borders from Libya.
Tunisia raised security alert across its borders since the US airstrikes against the IS training center in Sabratha, it built security barrier across the border, British military men train Tunisian armed forces to enhance border security.
In this context, France condemned the attack that targeted military and security installations in Ben Guerdane, the Tunisian city across the borders with Libya, Monday morning.
The spokesperson for the French state of department, Roman Nadal, said that “Ben Guerdane terrorist attack underlines the need for urgent political solution inside Libya”. He added that the ideal democratic transition, Tunisia achieved, makes it a target for terrorists.
From another side, he stressed his country’s condolences for the victims” families, and its solidarity with Tunisian authorities and people in the face of terrorism.
Fierce clashes erupted, Monday morning, in Ben Guerdane between Tunisian army and security forces and terrorist elements “came from Libya”, according to the Tunisian interior ministry.
This came after the Tunisian Defense Minister, Farhat Al-Hershany, announced that his country will start using drones to monitor its borders with Libya.
Al-Hershany explained that the step will be taken under coordination with a friend state to monitor sea and land borders.
He said that the action is in line with defensive strategies along with the sand border that was built on borders from Ras Ejdeer to Aldhiba.
Other components of the defensive strategy include electronic and heat surveillance that will be installed by American and German assistance, as technicians are expected to arrive within weeks.