By Houda Mzioudet.
Tunis, 9 March 2016:
Despite unconfirmed reports that a number of the Islamic State gunmen involved in the Ben Guerdane . . .[restrict]attack two days ago had Libyan passports, almost all of them were Tunisians.
Speaking at a press conference in Tunis today, Tunisian government spokesman Khaled Chawket said that investigations had shown that the majority of the terrorists involved were Tunisian nationals and that they had been in Ben Guerdane prior to the attack.
The number of terrorists who died in the attack and since then as a result of their wounds is now put at 46. At least seven others were caught alive.
Eighteen security officers and civilians were killed in the fighting.
Chawket stated that only a small group of the attackers had crossed into Tunisia from Libya, mainly through Ras Jedir border crossing.
“However, among the attackers there were sleeper cells based in Ben Guerdane,” he stated.
The statement follows one yesterday from Tunisian President Beji Caid-Essebsi describing Libya as “an exporter of anarchy”. In response, the Libyan interim government of Abdullah Al-Thinni claimed that most terrorists in Libya were foreign nationals, mainly Tunisians.
It reminded neighbouring countries and the international community that “Libya has been at war against terrorist groups for a long time with modest means and with no external support”.
It also said that it did not hold ordinary Tunisians responsible of the acts of groups “who are acting outside of the law”. The terrorists, it said, “represent only themselves”. [/restrict]