Tunisia arms tourism cops at beaches

Tunisia arms tourism cops at beaches

Police make first arrests: Minister

By (AFP)

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2015, 9:30 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:07 PM

National Guards patrol in a boat near the Imperiale Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, on Monday. — Reuters

National Guards patrol in a boat near the Imperiale Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, on Monday. — Reuters

Port el Kantaoui (Tunisia) — Tunisia said it would arm tourism police and deploy hundreds of reinforcements as authorities moved to boost security after a militant gunned down 38 people at a seaside resort in an attack claimed by the Daesh group.

Police on horseback and quad bikes patrolled the beach at Port El Kantaoui north of Sousse, where the worst militant attack in Tunisia’s history took place on Friday.

On Monday, interior ministers from Britain — the country hardest hit — France and Germany will visit the seaside Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel south of Tunis, where the killings took place.

The brutal attack by a lone gunman saw at least 15 Britons and one German among those killed, and dealt a heavy blow to the vital tourism industry.

Meanwhile, Tunisia has made its first arrests in connection with last week’s attack, Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli said on Monday. “We have started by arresting a first group, a significant number of people, from the network that was behind this terrorist criminal,” Gharsalli said at a joint Press conference with his German, French and British counterparts.

Tourists gathered around bouquets of flowers laid in the sand, one asking simply: “Why (did) they die?”

UK Prime Minister David Cameron called for a fightback against extremism in response to the mass shooting, as the BBC reported the number of British victims may rise to more than 30.

In Tunis, leaders of the North African country scrambled to find ways to bolster security.

The tourism ministry confirmed plans to deploy 1,000 armed officers from July 1 to reinforce the tourism police, who will now also carry guns for the first time.

Armed officers will be deployed “inside and outside hotels”, on beaches and at tourist and archaeological sites, the ministry said.

Hundreds of shocked tourists have been leaving for home since Friday’s attack, but some holidaymakers said they had chosen to stay. 

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