Tunisia woman suicide bomber was jobless graduate
Mna Guebla did not have a job related to her studies, but sometimes worked as a shepherdess to help her family, according to Tunisian media; authorities had not previously identified Guebla as a potential extremist
TUNIS: A woman who blew herself up on a busy street of the Tunisian capital this week has been identiied as an unemployed graduate, the prosecution said on Tuesday.
Mna Guebla detonated a bomb on Monday near a gathering of police cars in Tunis’ upmarket Avenue Habib Bourguiba, wounding 15 oficers and two teenagers in the irst such attack in the city since 2015.
The bomber, from the eastern region of Mahdia, was aged 30 and had a degree in business English, said prosecution spokesman Soiene Sliti, who also represents the country’s anti-terrorism unit.
Guebla did not have a job related to her studies, but sometimes worked as a shepherdess to help her family, according to Tunisian media.
Her family said that in the three years since she graduated, she had been unable to ind a job in that ield and had instead occasionally worked as a shepherdess.
Authorities had not previously identiied Guebla as a potential extremist, Sliti told AFP.
The prosecution spokesman said there had not yet been any arrests in connection with Monday’s attack.
Authorities said nobody was seriously injured in the explosion.
Tunis returned to normal on Tuesday apart from a reinforced police presence around the blast site, on a major artery and close to the North African country’s interior ministry and French embassy.
Municipal workers had used highpressure water hoses to clean the area, where tourists were walking again and cafes had re-opened.
Since 2011, militants have been waging a campaign of attacks targeting Tunisian security forces, particularly in the mountainous region near the Algerian border.
But Monday’s attack was the irst in Tunis since November 2015, when a suicide bombing killed 12 security agents on a bus for presidential guards, a few hundred metres (yards) from the site of the latest attack.
The 2015 attack was claimed by the Daesh group.
In June 2015, a student went on a shooting rampage in the coastal resort of Sousse and killed 38 people, including 30 Britons.
An attack in March that year on the Bardo National Museum in Tunis left 22 people dead, all but one of them foreign tourists.
Those attacks, also claimed by Daesh, devastated Tunisia’s crucial tourism sector, which made up seven per cent of gross domestic product.
The country has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 bus attack.
The state of emergency was extended this month until Nov.6, amid a tense political climate ahead of legislative and presidential elections planned for next year.
Shops and cafes in the centre of the Tunisian capital reopened on Tuesday amid heightened security and crowds returned to the street where a suicide bomber wounded 10 police oficers and ive others a day earlier.
The bombing on Habib Bourguiba avenue was the irst such violence in the capital since late 2015 when militants killed dozens of people in attacks that targeted the country’s vital tourism sector.
“We will stay here and will continue to live normally... we will shake them off (extremists),” said Lamia Ben Omar, who was sitting with a friend in a cafe. Police cars increased patrols and oficers searched some pedestrians, witnesses said.
A security source told Reuters the bomber detonated a grenade rather than an explosives belt. Her family said she was likely radicalised online.
Interior Minister Hichem Fourati, whose ministry is on the same street, said Guebla was not on a watch-list of potential extremists “and was not known for her religious background or afiliation.”
“It was an isolated act, the security services were on the alert, they intervened very quickly,” he told AFP.
Police sources said the assailant appeared to have used a homemade bomb rather than an explosive belt.
Organisers of the Carthage Film Festival, set to begin Saturday at venues on the same road, said it would go ahead as planned.
The mother (left) and relatives of a suicide bomber who blew herself up on a busy street in the Tunisian capital a day earlier, react during an interview with an AFP journalist in the eastern region of Mahdia on Tuesday.
The father of Mna Guebla, a suicide bomber who blew herself up on a busy street in the Tunisian capital a day earlier, speaks during an interview with an AFP journalist in the eastern region of Mahdia on Tuesday.