Tunisian PM: Militants sought to establish IS emirate in Ben Guerdane

TUNIS, March 7 (KUNA) — Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid stated that Monday’s coordinated militants attack on National Guard and police districts and Army barracks in Ben Guerdane “aimed to establish an Islamic State (IS) emirate (province) in Tunisia.
“The goal was to create an Islamic emirate in Ben Guerdane,” Essid said in a televised address to the nation.
He added that the swift reaction from the army and police have managed to repel the attacks and arrest a number of assailants.
Essid extended condolences to the families of the victims and thanked Ben Guerdane residents for their backing to the army and security forces.
Earlier, President Beji Caid Essebsi described the wave of attacks as unprecedented.
These are organized and coordinated attacks that meant to eventually take control of the region and announce a new emirate, he said.
The Ministries of National Defence and the Interior announced in a joint statement that at least 53 people, including 36 militants, were killed and dozens others injured coordinated militant attacks on Tunisian army and police barracks in Ben Guerdane, on the border the restive neighbor Libya. Nearly 18 army, police, and civilians were also killed in the offensives, it noted.
Following the assaults, President Essebsi announced closure of borders with Libya and a night-time curfew (7:00 pm-5:00 am) in Ben Guerdane and Djerba. (pickup previous) ksj.ibi