October 30, 2013 6:27:07 pm
A suicide bomber blew himself on a beach in Tunisia’s resort town of Sousse on Wednesday while security forces foiled another planned attack nearby,the Tunisian interior ministry said.
“A man blew himself up on a beach in Sousse,” ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Laroui said,adding that no one else was killed.
Witnesses said the attack took place at around 1400 IST and near the Riadh Palm hotel in the centre of the coastal town,which lies 140 km south of Tunis and is a popular tourist destination.
The bomber was spotted and chased away from the hotel,blowing himself up on an empty beach.
The ministry was unable to give details of his identity.
In the nearby town of Monastir,security forces arrested an 18-year-old man who planned to blow himself up at the tomb of Tunisia’s independence leader Habib Bourguiba,Laroui said.
“An attempted attack targeting the compound of the Bourguiba mausoleum was foiled …. and a young man carrying explosives was arrested,” he added.
Last year a Salafist was jailed for eight months for desecrating the tomb,a lavish building constructed by Tunisia’s first president himself,with two minarets and a gold dome.
The thwarted attack took place just half an hour after the beach bombing.
The ministry spokesman said anti-terrorist units were sweeping the area looking for an accomplice to the suicide bomber in Sousse.
Since the 2011 revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali,Tunisia has been rocked by attacks blamed on radical Islamist groups suppressed under the former dictator’s regime.
Tunisia’s army has launched a “huge” operation to track down jihadists in the central Sidi Bouzid region,after six policemen were killed in the area last week.
In October alone,nine members of the security forces have been killed in clashes with suspected jihadists.
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