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

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

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.

Agence France-presse

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.

Agence France-presse

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.

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