Tunis, July 8 (IANS/AKI) Tunisian security forces have dismantled a “highly dangerous” jihadist terrorism cell and arrested its members, interior minister Mohamed Najem Gharsalli said.
The alleged cell members were planning a series of attacks, Gharsalli said on Tuesday.
Counter-terrorism police seized the cell’s entire equipment during the overnight arrests, the minister said.
Investigators identified jihadist ‘sleeper cells’ before last week’s arrests of eight suspects in the deadly gun attack on tourists at the popular beach resort of Sousse in late June, Gharsalli said.
The alleged gunman in the Sousse attack, Seifeddine Rezgui had “a support network”, civil society minister Kamel Jendoubi said on Tuesday.
Jendoubi said over 1,000 suspects have been detained in Tunisia in a terror clampdown since March’s deadly attack on the Bardo National Museum here claimed by the Islamic State militant group.
The March 18 assault on the Bardo museum killed 21 foreign tourists and a policeman. Tunisian security forces killed two of the attackers at the museum.
A total of 38 foreign tourists, including 30 British nationals, died in the June 26 Sousse attack, which was also claimed by IS. Rezgui was shot dead by police near the beach.
The massacre prompted Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essibsi to declare a state of emergency on Saturday.