Tunisia to build wall on Libya border

Habib Essid said the army will build the wall by the year's end. Picture: Getty
Habib Essid said the army will build the wall by the year's end. Picture: Getty
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TUNISIA has announced that a 100-mile wall will be built along its border with Libya in response to the terrorist attack which claimed 38 lives.

Prime minister Habib Essid said the barrier will stretch inland from the Mediterranean coast and contain several surveillance centres.

Speaking on state television, Mr Essid revealed the wall would be built by the army and would be completed by the end of the year.

Security has been heightened since the Sousse attack, with more than 1,400 armed officers deployed at hotels and on the beaches.

Mr Essid said that authorities believe plots aimed at mass killings and destruction of the country’s economy are in the works, and justify the state of emergency declared after a second deadly attack on tourists in three months.

Addressing parliament yesterday, he implied that personal freedoms guaranteed by the constitution should not be ­affected by the “exceptional measures”.

Mr Essid said authorities believe Tunisia faces “terrorist plots with the objective of creating instability... and operations aimed at killing as many people as possible and destroying... the economy.”

A state of emergency was declared on Saturday, days after the 26 July attack by Seifeddine Rezgui on a hotel in Sousse in which 38 tourists were killed.

In total 30 British nationals were killed alongside three Irish nationals, two Germans, a Belgian, a Portuguese and a Russian.

According to Tunisian officials, Rezgui trained at a Libyan jihadist camp at the same time as the two gunmen who attacked the Bardo museum in Tunis in March, killing 22 people.

Declaring the state of emergency in a nationwide televised address, Mr Essebsi, said his country was “not safe” and at risk of “collapse”.

In announcing the urgent reinstatement of 30 days of security measures that were lifted in March last year, he said terrorists pose an existential threat to the North African nation.

The president blamed poor security in Libya for Tunisia’s problems, and the lack of international resolve in targeting the Islamic State group throughout the region.

He said Tunisia specifically had been a target of the extremist group because it had a functioning, secular democracy.

Tunisia’s government has promised new laws to increase police powers and provide for harsher penalties for terrorism convictions.

Immediately after the Sousse attack, the prime minister pledged to post armed guards at tourist sites and close mosques outside government control.

The country was under a state of emergency from January 2011, at the outbreak of the Arab Spring, until March 2014.

It initially included a curfew and a ban on meetings of more than three people.