Terrorist attack thwarted in Tunisia

Tunisia has arrested a cell of 17 Islamist militants and prevented a major assault on hotels and security forces in the resort town of Sousse planned for this month, a senior government official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Sousse was the site of one of two major attacks claimed by Islamic State in Tunisia this year, when 38 foreigners were killed at a beach hotel in June. In March, gunmen killed 21 tourists in an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

“We have foiled a major attack this month that the terrorist cell was preparing against vital installations, hotels, security centres and against politicians to bring chaos to the country,” Interior Ministry security chief Rafik Chelli said.

Chelli said some of the militants had been trained in Libya and Syria and were awaiting orders to carry out the assault.

He said Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and a bomb belt were also seized during the arrests.

Over 3,000 Tunisians have joined the Islamic state.