An unemployed graduate who blew herself up in Tunisia’s capital last month had sworn allegiance to Islamic State, the interior minister said Monday, November 19.
Mna Guebla detonated a bomb near police cars in central Tunis on the busy upmarket Avenue Habib Bourguiba on October 29, killing herself and wounding 26 people, mostly police officers, Hichem Fourati told parliament.
Guebla had used “secret communication channels” to make contact with “terrorist leaders inside and outside the country” and to swear allegiance to ISIS, he added.
Fourati said the 30-year-old had received online instructions on bomb-making from “terrorist elements” based in the country’s mountainous east, the epicenter of a long-running jihadist campaign targeting Tunisian security forces.
The attack was the first to rock the Tunisian capital since 2015.
Police sources said the assailant appeared to have used a homemade bomb rather than an explosive belt.
Guebla, who lived in a marginalized rural area in the eastern Mahdia region, was studying for a doctorate and spent hours on the computer locked in her room, but her family said there was no indication she was being radicalized.
After her death, authorities found “a quantity of raw materials used in the manufacture of explosives” at her house, Fourati said.
Local media have reported that her distraught family refused to receive the body and did not attend her burial.
In June 2015, 38 people were killed in a shooting rampage at the coastal resort of Sousse which targeted tourists, while an attack in March that year on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis left 22 people dead, most of them tourists.
The terror attacks claimed by ISIS decimated Tunisia’s crucial tourism sector, which made up seven percent of gross domestic product.
A state of emergency first enacted after a bus attack in November 2015 has been extended multiple times, most recently on November 11.
In March 2016, dozens of jihadists who infiltrated from neighboring Libya assaulted security posts in the southern region of Ben Guerdane in what Tunisian authorities said was an aborted attempt to declare an “emirate.”
The attack, which went unclaimed, left 20 dead among security forces and civilians.
With reporting from AFP