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Tunisia’s president extends nationwide state of emergency

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi gives a speech during a ceremony at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, July 13, 2016. (AFP)

Tunisia’s president has extended for two months a nationwide state of emergency following a deadly bomb attack in November 2015.

A government statement said on Tuesday that President Beji Caid Essebsi made the decision after consulting the prime minister and the head of the national assembly.

The statement added that the measure would be extended from July 21 for two months.

The state of emergency empowers the authorities to prohibit strikes and gatherings that might "provoke or maintain disorder." It also permits officials to "take every measure to secure control of the press and all types of publications."

The state of emergency was originally imposed on November 24, 2015, after a bomb attack claimed by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group on a bus transporting presidential guards killed a dozen people in the capital, Tunis. Following the attack, President Essebsi said Tunis was at “war against terrorism.”

In June the same year, an attacker armed with a rifle killed at least 38 people, mostly foreign tourists, on a beach in the resort town of Sousse. That assault came more than a month after two militants stormed the Bardo Museum in the capital and shot dead 21 people, again mainly foreign tourists.

The relative calm in Tunisia has been punctured by growing instability in neighboring Libya, which has been in chaos since the former dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, was toppled and later killed in 2011.

Tunisian forces patrol the town of Ben Guerdane, near the Libyan border, March 8, 2016. (AFP photo)

Tunisian forces have repeatedly clashed with Takfiri militants on the borders of Libya and Algeria over the past few years.

Tunisian law enforcement agencies fear further terror attacks in the country as an estimated 3,000 Tunisian terrorists are believe to be within the ranks of Daesh in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, and they could pose troubles when they return home.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid has recently urged vigilance against the "persistent terrorist threat" across the country.

Tunisia has been plagued by violence since the 2011 uprising that ousted the country’s dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was in power for over two decades.

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