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Tunisia Celebrates 2nd Anniversary of Ben Guerdane Battle Victory, Extends State of Emergency

Tunisia Celebrates 2nd Anniversary of Ben Guerdane Battle Victory, Extends State of Emergency

Thursday, 8 March, 2018 - 08:45
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAIDFETHI BELAID
Tunis - Al Munji Al Saidani
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has extended a state of emergency for another seven months at a time when the country celebrated the second anniversary of the battle waged against militants in the southeastern town of Ben Guerdane.

The extension of the countrywide state of emergency starts from March 12, said the presidency on Tuesday.

This decision was made after a meeting of the Supreme Security Council, presided by Essebsi.

It came as Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and several cabinet ministers celebrated the second anniversary of the Ben Guerdane battle which erupted on March 7, 2016 when militants mounted a coordinated assault on security installations in the town, aiming to win over residents and establish an ISIS "emirate.”

During the ceremony, Chahed told Ben Guerdane’s residents that March 7 will be considered a national day of victory against terrorism.

He hailed the residents for backing security forces and the military in confronting the militants.

The battle first erupted when more than 80 terrorists launched simultaneous attacks on army and police posts to establish an ISIS “emirate” from where militants could carry out terrorist operations in Tunisia.

But security forces, the military and Ben Guerdane inhabitants confronted the extremists in a fighting that left 43 assailants, and 18 members of the security forces and civilians, dead.

According to security and military reports, police and the army have been successful in carrying out preemptive strikes against terrorist organizations sheltering in mountainous areas in the West.

But the ministers of interior and defense have stressed that the terrorist threat has not fully dissipated and that the battle against extremists isn’t over.

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