Open main menu

The ISIL insurgency in Tunisia refers to the ongoing militant and terror activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant branch in Tunisia. The activity of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Tunisia began in June 2015, with the Sousse attacks, though an earlier terror incident in Bardo Museum in March 2015 was claimed by ISIL, while the Tunisian government blamed Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade for the attack. Following massive border clashes near Ben Guerdane in March 2016, the activity of the ISIL group was described as an armed insurgency,[25] switching from previous tactics of sporadic suicide attacks to attempts to gain territorial control.

ISIL insurgency in Tunisia
Part of spillover of the Libyan Civil War (2014–present), the Arab Winter and the Insurgency in the Maghreb (2002–present)
Date26 June 2015 – present
(4 years, 2 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Result Ongoing
Belligerents

 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Ansar al-Sharia
(only in March 2016)[2]

 Tunisia

Supported by:

Commanders and leaders
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
(Self-proclaimed Caliph)
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Unknown local leader
Tunisia Béji Caïd Essebsi
(President of Tunisia)
Tunisia Brig. Gen. Ismail Fathalli
(Chief of Staff)
Casualties and losses
45–67+[n 1] killed
54+[7] captured
38 killed
38 wounded

41[n 2]–63+[n 3] civilians killed
46[n 4]–88+[n 5] civilians wounded
1[n 6] kidnapped
1[13] missing


Total: 127[n 7]–173+[n 8] killed

84[n 9]–126 [n 10] wounded

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Rise of the IslamitesEdit

Since the death of Antar Zouabri the leader of the pro-al-Qaeda group called Armed Islamic Group of Algeria (GIA) which led an end of the Algerian Civil War in February 2002.[26] The Islamist groups, like GIA and Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), continued the fight in their own insurgency in Algeria. In the meanwhile, on 11 April 2002 a suspected al-Qaeda deadly bombing attack was carried in the Algeria's neighbour country Tunisia, on the island of Djerba. Twenty-one people were killed and dozens were injured. A suspected Polish with a German citizenship called Christian Ganczarski was arrested and gaoled for having connexions with al-Qaeda and the attacker.[27][28] In December 2006, two people were killed by Islamists and two others were arrested. On 3 January 2007 clashes broke out in Soliman, Tunisia, between the Tunisian Police and a suspected Islamitic armed group. Fourteen people were killed, which of whom were two police officiers, twelve armed members and fifteen were arrested.[28] In Late 2012, the Tunisian Army launched some operations against the Islamist rebels whom are active around the Algarian–Tunisian mountainous border.[29] On 16 July 2014 the Islamites launched a deadly attack against the army which killed fifteen soldiers of the army and one attacker. Eighteen others were wounded on the Algarian–Tunisian border.[29]

Bardo Museum incidentEdit

On 18 March 2015, three militants attacked the Bardo National Museum in the Tunisian capital city of Tunis, and took hostages.[15] Twenty-one people, mostly European tourists, were killed at the scene, while an additional victim died ten days later. Around fifty others were injured.[30][31][32] Two of the gunmen, Tunisian citizens Yassine Labidi and Saber Khachnaoui, were killed by police, while the third attacker is currently at large.[33] Police treated the event as a terrorist attack.[34][35] The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack, and threatened to commit further attacks. However, the Tunisian Government blamed a local splinter group of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), called the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, for the attack. On 28 March, nine members were killed in a police raid.[36]

HistoryEdit

Year Deaths Injuries
2015 53–77 55–97
2016 70–90 21
2017 6 8
2018 0 0
2019 1 4
Total 129–175 88–130

2015Edit

On 26 June 2015 an Islamist mass shooting attack occurred at the tourist resort at Port El Kantaoui, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the City of Sousse, Tunisia.[32][37] Thirty-eight people, thirty of whom were Britons, were killed when an armed gunman attacked a hotel.[38] It was the deadliest non-state attack in the history of modern Tunisia, with more fatalities than the twenty-two killed in the Bardo National Museum attack three months earlier.[39] On 24 November a bus carrying Tunisian Presidential Guards exploded, killing twelve, on a principal road in Tunis, Tunisia.[40][41] ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack.[42][43] The bomber, who also died in the attack, was identified as Houssem Abdelli.[44][11]

2016Edit

 
Security forces during the Battle of Ben Guerdane.

Between 7–9 March 2016 an armed attack on 7 March, in the City of Ben Guerdane, Tunisia near the border with Libya. The clashes continued also on 8, and 9 March, in the area. The final death toll was forty-five militants, thirteen security and seven civilians.[12][45] On 19 March two militants were killed on the Libyan border, near to the site of the Ben Guerdane attack, while three civilians and a Tunisian security forces member were wounded.[46] On 30 March four Tunisian troops were reported killed, in an ambush by ISIL affiliates in Kasserine Governorate.[20] On 11 May four police men were killed by an ISIL attack, with the suicide bomber dying as well. This followed the death of two suspected terrorists near Tunis.[9] On 26 October Two Americans were detained by the authorities in Jendouba (north-western Tunisia), being suspected of involvement with a terrorist organisation.[47] On 5 November militants killed a soldier at his home in the central region. A day later, ISIL claimed responsibility for the killing.[21] On 9 November the Tunisian Army hunted down and shot dead a leader of a militant group affiliated with ISIL militants, this comes four days after the militant group killed a soldier at his house in central Tunisia.[48]

2017Edit

On 12 March 2017, a police officer and two militants were killed in a shootout at a checkpoint in southern Tunisia, three other officers were injured.[11] On 2–3 June a unit of the National Army discovered the body of the shepherd Khelifa Soltani on Saturday afternoon, on Mount Mghila. He had been kidnapped on Friday by a group of terrorists with another shepherd who has not been found yet.[13] On 8 June a mine exploded at Jebel Mghila (Sidi Bouzid Governorate), during a sweep operation, killing a soldier and wounding another one.[16] On 16 June a woman was injured when an IED went off near Mont Salloum in the Kasserine Governorate.[14] On 22 August an IED blast wounded two soldiers on patrol in the heights of Kasserine Governorate.[49] On 1 November a suspected Islamist stabbed two police officers near the Tunisian Parliament, killing one and injuring another one.[22] On 1 August 2018 people armed with guns attacked a bank in the City of Kasserine, Tunisia. Eleven terrorists were responsible for the operation. Four of them entered the bank and robbed money, while seven others stole a vehicle and took a citizen hostage. No one was injured in the incident.[17][18][19]

2019Edit

On 27 June 2019, two suicide blasts took place in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia.[50] The first explosion on Thursday involved a suicide bomber who targeted a police patrol on Tunis's central Charles de Gaulle Street.[50] One police officer was killed, while another was wounded as well as three civilians, according to the interior ministry.[50]

Foreign support to TunisiaEdit

In February 2016, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced that a Short Term Training Team of around 20 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade had deployed to Tunisia to help train Tunisian forces in countering illegal cross-border movement from Libya. The training involved both classroom and practical exercises, helping to improve the 1st Tunisian Brigade border security capability. The deployment followed on from what Fallon stated as "a previous tranche of border security training with the 1st Tunisian Brigade Headquarters at the end of last year."[51]

In June 2016, Defence Secretary Fallon announced that the UK military support in counter-IED training would be extended for an additional year to help Tunisian Security Forces reach international standards of capability and achieve self-sufficiency in training. The British team in the country comprising counter-IED and training specialists, as part of a multinational team, deployed in March 2015 and had been "instrumental" in bringing structure and clarity to training at the Explosive Ordnance Device School in the country, helping transform it into a specialist centre offering 14 different courses. Separately, it was also announced that in the summer of that year, the UK would provide three specialist month-long training courses to the Tunisia National Guard Commando, to help them deal with internal and external threats. The decision stemmed from a request made by the National Guard, will focus on medical training, small boat handling and security operations training and would create a cadre of instructors to further cascade training within the National Guard.[52]

In October 2016, Defence Secretary Fallon announced that a Short Term Training Team of around 40 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade deployed to the country to train 200 Tunisian troops in theoretical and practical exercises on Operational Planning, Intelligence and Surveillance and mobile patrolling, which would help Tunisia counter illegal cross-border movement, particularly from Libya.[53]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Tunesia, 18 March 2018". Global Terrorism Database. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  2. ^ "As fighters return, Tunisia faces growing challenge". Reuters. 24 May 2016. Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Further UK troops train Tunisian forces to counter Daesh". GOV.
  4. ^ "UK to send troops to Tunisia to help stop ISIS crossing Libyan border". Reuters. 1 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Tunisia beach attack: British death toll 'will top 30'". BBC News. 29 June 2015. Archived from the original on 30 July 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c "Explosion reportedly occurred on Tunis' busy Mohammed V Avenue, killing at least 14 people". Middle East Eye. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Habib Essid: 55 terroristes abattus et 52 autres arrêtés, à Ben Guerdene" [Habib Essid: 55 terrorists killed and 52 other orders, to Ben Guerdene]. Shems FM. 25 March 2016. Archived from the original on 22 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Tunisian forces kill 2 'terrorists' near site of border attack". Gulf News. 20 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d "Four policemen killed in 'IS' suicide attack in Tunisia". Deutsche Welle. 11 May 2016. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  10. ^ a b c "Tunisian military kills head of terrorist group". Press TV. 9 November 2016. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "Policeman killed in checkpoint attack in southern Tunisia - officials". Reuters. 12 March 2017. Archived from the original on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Two militants, Tunisian soldier killed in clashes". Al Arabiya English. 9 March 2016. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Découverte du corps de Khelifa Soltani, kidnappé au mont Mghilla". Espace Manager (in French). 3 June 2017. Archived from the original on 6 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Tunisie: Une femme blessée par l'explosion d'un mine au Mont Selloum". Tunisie Numerique (in French). 16 June 2017. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  15. ^ a b c "Gunmen storm Tunisian museum, kill two Tunisians, 17 foreign tourists site". Reuters. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Jebel mghila deux soldats blesses dans lexplosion dune mine". Kapitalis (in French). 8 June 2017. Archived from the original on 14 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Braquage armé d'une agence bancaire à Kasserine". Business News (in French). 1 August 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Tunisie: Le braquage d'une banque à Kasserine-ville est "un acte terroriste" (sources sécuritaires)". Maghreb Emergent (in French). 2 August 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Tunisia: rapina in banca a Kasserine, sospetti su militanti dello Stato islamico". Agenzia Nova (in Italian). 2 August 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  20. ^ a b c "ISIS terrorists ambush 4 Tunisian soldiers in Kasserine". Al-Masdar News. 30 March 2016. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  21. ^ a b c "Tunisian soldier killed in his home: report". The Indian Express. 6 November 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d e "Tunisia policeman dies after attack, security unions seek more protection". Reuters. 2 November 2017. Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Attentat en Tunisie : 33 victimes ont été identifiées". Le Parisien (in French). 30 June 2015. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  24. ^ a b "Kasserine : Deux soldats blessés dans l'explosion d'une mine". Mosaïque FM (in French). 22 August 2017. Archived from the original on 21 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  25. ^ "Islamic State attack on Ben Guerdane indicates shift in group's Tunisia strategy, to trigger insurgency". Jane's Defence Weekly. 9 March 2016. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Antar Zouabri: A violent legacy". BBC News. 2002-02-09. Archived from the original on 2015-06-04. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  27. ^ "Two jailed over Tunisia bombing". BBC News. 2009-02-05. Archived from the original on 2018-10-30. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  28. ^ a b "Tunisia Says Suspects in Gun Battle Had Blueprints of Embassies". The New York Times. 2007-01-14. Archived from the original on 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2018-12-22.
  29. ^ a b "Missing Tunisia soldier found dead after jihadist attack". Yahoo News. 2014-07-18. Archived from the original on 2018-10-27. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  30. ^ "The Latest: French President Mourns Tunisia Victims". The New York Times. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  31. ^ "Museum attack a 'great calamity' for Tunisia's young democracy". Los Angeles Times. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  32. ^ a b "Islamic State claims responsibility for Tunisia attack". MSN News. 19 March 2015. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  33. ^ "Third Tunisia museum attacker 'on the run', says president". Yahoo News. 22 March 2015. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  34. ^ "21 dead in Tunisia attack, Including Gunmen". Al-Jazeera. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  35. ^ "Gunmen 'take hostages' in attack on Tunisia parliament". The Daily Telegraph. 18 March 2015. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  36. ^ "Thousands of Tunisians, leaders march after Bardo attack". Reuters. 29 March 2015. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  37. ^ "Scores killed in terror attack on Tunisian beach resort". France 24. 27 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  38. ^ "Death toll from attack at Tunisia hotel rises to 37". WBTV. 26 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  39. ^ "Tourists flee Tunisia after resort attack". CNN. 28 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  40. ^ "Tunisia bus explosion: Bomb kills 12 on Tunis bus in 'act of terror'". The Independent. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 15 November 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  41. ^ "Apparent suicide attack on Tunisian presidential guard bus kills 12". Reuters. 24 November 2015. Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Deadly Bus Attack in Tunis". The Wall Street Journal. 25 November 2015. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  43. ^ "Islamic State claims responsibility for fatal Tunis bus attack". The Guardian. 25 November 2015. Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  44. ^ "Tunisia identifies bus suicide bomber as Tunisian national". Reuters. 26 November 2017. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  45. ^ Cite error: The named reference 8 March 2016 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  46. ^ "Tunisian forces kill 2 'terrorists' near site of border attack". Gulf News. 20 March 2016. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  47. ^ "Tunisia Briefly Holds Two From U.S. on Suspicion of Terror Ties". The New York Times. 27 October 2016. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  48. ^ "Tunisian military kills head of terrorist group". Press TV. 9 November 2016. Archived from the original on 10 November 2016. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  49. ^ "Kasserine : Deux soldats blessés dans l'explosion d'une mine". Mosaïque FM (in French). 22 August 2017. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  50. ^ a b c [1]
  51. ^ "UK military personnel train Tunisian forces". GOV. 26 February 2016.
  52. ^ "UK Armed Forces help Tunisian forces fight violent extremism". GOV. 27 June 2016.
  53. ^ "Further UK troops train Tunisian forces to counter Daesh". GOV.