It's been mere months since a deadly attack on Sousse by a lone IS gunman left 38 dead. The beaches and hotels of the Tunisian resort now lie predominantly empty but Tunisian police forces this week announced the discovery of another terror plot targeting the very same resort.
Tunisian police made seven arrests earlier this week, after receiving intelligence that a second terrorist attack could be targeting the holiday resort of Sousse. Those arrested were all women, thought to be working for the media wing of the Algerian militant group Jund al-Khalifah. In addition to the seven women, a further twelve suspected Islamists were reportedly arrested.
Who was the target of the attack?
Reports from the interior ministry suggest that the plotters had trained with IS militants in Syria and Libya and planned to attack politicians, beaches, security centers and holiday resorts in Sousse. Two IS affiliates were also arrested back in October after they were thought to be planning to kill the deputy of a secularist political party in Tunisia.
Tunisia has stepped up security since 38 people, 30 of whom were British tourists, were killed in an IS attack on a Sousse beach. Previously, 21 tourists and one Tunisian died in an attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis in March. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but it is thought that Islamic State supporters were responsible.
The Sousse attacks prompted the UK government to change its travel advice, warning against all but essential travel to Tunisia. Tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Thomson have suspended holidays until further notice, leaving the Tunisian tourism industry struggling to stay afloat.
Before news of the most recent arrests broke, the Tunisian Minister of Tourism had been speaking with the UK government, asking for a partial lift on its travel ban. He argued that specialist security units, supported by the British Embassy, are now fixed in place. The director of the Tunisian National Tourist Office in London also confirmed that extra security measures had been put in place.