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Tunisia to close 80 mosques after attack

June 27, 2015

The Tunisian government has said it plans to shutter dozens of mosques. The move is a countermeasure to the extremist-inspired violence that left 39 people dead at a resort hotel in the city of Sousse.

Image: Reuters/Z. Souissi

Tunisia's Prime Minister Habib Essid announced on Friday that the government will be shutting 80 mosques that are outside of state control on the grounds that they may incite violence. The plan, which will be carried out in the next week, follows an attack on a tourist resort hotel in the coastal city of Sousse, around 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of the capital Tunis.

Tunis also plans to crack down on financing for certain associations as a countermeasure against another attack.

The gunman had disguised himself as a tourist, hiding a rifle in an umbrella. He then opened fire on lounging tourists at the Imperial Marhaba hotel, killing 39 people including Britons, Germans and Belgians.

The attack was claimed by the jihadist group "Islamic State" (IS) who have been using social media to urge their followers to step up violence against their enemies during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

"Our brother, the soldier of the Caliphate, Abu Yihya al-Kairouni, reached his target the Imperial hotel despite the security measures," said a statement on an IS-linked Twitter account. It continued that al-Kairouni had attacked what they called a brothel and killed 40 "infidels."

Three attacks in one day

At least one German and 15 Britons have been killed in the Sousse attack. The deaths came on the same day as two other IS-linked attacks as 27 people were killed and more than 270 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated an explosive inside a Shiite mosque in Kuwait City, Kuwait.

Earlier in southeastern France, a truck driver named Yassine Salhi hung his employer's severed head along with banners carrying inscriptions in Arabic on a factory gate before crashing his vehicle into the chemical warehouse. Salhi triggered an explosion that left two workers wounded.

Although no group claimed responsibility for the France attack, the severed head mimicked IS's practice of beheading prisoners and displaying their heads.

Salhi was apprehended by the police shortly after the blast at the factory.

es/rc (AP, Reuters)