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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Poisonous Messages ... New Weapon in the Hands of Terrorist Groups in Tunisia


Ahmed Nadhif

Thu, 14 Mar 2019 19:02 GMT

In an unprecedented event, the Tunisian Ministry of the Interior announced that 19 messages from a "terrorist group" had been seized containing toxic substances. This reveals a serious shift in the methods adopted by the terrorist groups in Tunisia in the implementation of strikes, especially against elites and activists in public affairs.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement that it had, "managed to seize 19 letters sent to the security services concerned (in order) to conduct the necessary technical tests that confirmed the containment of toxic substances." The statement said, "following the availability of information that a terrorist group planned to target public figures by sending mail containing toxic materials, the Department of Public Security is doing all it takes to block those dangerous messages."

According to the Interior Ministry, the National Unit for the Investigation of Terrorist Crimes is committed to, "investigate this issue to determine its circumstances and the parties behind it and to take all necessary security and judicial measures in this regard." The interior called, "politicians, media professionals, trade unionists and other public and public figures to the need to inform their interests with all the doubts and suspicions in this context."

Tunisian journalist, Mohamed Bougblab, revealed some of the names targeted by these poisonous messages. They are: Hamza Al-Baloumi, Latifi Al-Amari, Noufel Al-Vertani, Mohamed Bougabab and Mia Al-Qusouri, in addition to the General Secretary of the Tunisian General Union of Labour, Noureddine Tabboubi, and, representing the Central Federation of Trade Unions, Sami al-Tahiri, as well as the head of the National Authority to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Rawda al-Obeidi.

What they have in common is that they have shown sharp and unrelenting attitudes towards unofficial religious schools after a number of children in an internal school with were exposed to sexual and physical abuse in the city of Rukab in the central province of Sidi Bouzid last month. The Tunisian Ministry of the Interior revealed that it found 42 people in suspicious circumstances , some between the ages of 10 and 18, and 27 others between 18 and 35. The ministry added, “these children were subjected to violence and abuse and exploited in agriculture and construction work "

Since 2012, the year of war between the jihadi groups and the Tunisian security and military forces, the tactics of these groups have been based on concentrated attacks and ambushes against police and military and armed attacks against economic interests, especially tourism, as in the resort of Sousse and the Bardo Museum in 2015 or by planting mines in the mountains to target elements of the army.

These tactics were based on improvised explosive devices but jihadist groups began planning to introduce new weapons into the conflict arena, such as running people over or stabbing them, and use of gases and aircraft.

Tunisian jihadi groups have lived in a state of organisational and tactical transformation for more than a year following the defeats suffered by Al Qaeda in Syria, Libya and Iraq. The new situation has forced the pro-Tunisian groups to change their way of dealing with the state.

The Tunisian Ministry of the Interior revealed last November that it had dismantled four terrorist cells, including 12 elements that were planning in coordination with terrorist leaders to carry out a series of terrorist attacks.

The ministry also confiscated a remote-controlled aircraft, as well as detecting and seizing a laboratory aimed at manufacturing explosive materials, toxic gases and a quantity of raw materials and electronics.

Middle East