Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tunisia Working With Libya on Sabratha IS Identification, Steps Up Security Following US Raid
By Houda Mzioudet
Tunis, 27 February 2016:

The Tunisian authorities say they are coordinating investigations with their Libyan counterparts into the Tunisians killed in last week’s US air raid on facilities in Sabratha used by the so-called Islamic State (IS). Up to as many as 60 IS members, most of them believed to be Tunisians, were killed in the raids. The bodies of several have been returned to Tunisia and DNA tests are to be carried out in an attempt to identify them.

Tunisian Noureddine Chouchene, allegedly one of the masterminds of the Sousse beach resort attack in June 2015 and a target of the raid, was thought to have killed along with the others although there were subsequent reports that he was still alive. However, a body resembling his has now been found in the rubble of one of the blitzed buildings.

A Tunisian investigative judge in charge of anti-terrorism cases in Tunis has opened an investigation into those killed in the raid.

Since it happened, Tunisia has again increased security across the country as well as on the border with Libya.

Speaking on the its Watania 1 TV station talk show last night, former Tunisian foreign affairs minister and veteran diplomat Ahmed Ouanaies revealed that Libyan intelligence has been collaborating with neighbouring countries in the fight against IS. The decision to strike in Sabratha, he said, was “necessary and fast”.

Following it, there have been warnings that, fearing further air attacks against them in Libya, IS and other militants might move to Tunisia and carry out “retaliatory acts on Tunisia soil”.

The US has warned that the Sabratha attack was not a one-off, and that there will be raids.

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