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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Tunis bomber had sworn allegiance to ISIS, minister says

Mna Guebla detonated her device near police cars in central Tunis, wounding dozens

Tunisian police secure the area as forensic experts work the scene of the suicide bombing. Reuters
Tunisian police secure the area as forensic experts work the scene of the suicide bombing. Reuters

An unemployed graduate who blew herself up in Tunisia's capital last month had sworn allegiance to the ISIS, the interior minister said on Monday.

Mna Guebla detonated a bomb near police cars on the busy upmarket Avenue Habib Bourguiba in central Tunis on October 29, killing herself and wounding 26 people, mostly police officers, Hichem Fourati told parliament.

Guebla had used "secret communication channels" to make contact with "terrorist leaders inside and outside the country" and to swear allegiance to ISIS, he said.

Mr Fourati said the 30-year-old had received online instructions on how to make a bomb from "terrorist elements" based in the country's mountainous east, the epicentre of a long-running militant campaign of attacks targeting Tunisian security forces.

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The attack was the first in the Tunisian capital since 2015. In March of that year, ISIS claimed an attack on the national museum, killing 23 people most of whom were tourists. Later in June, 38 tourists were killed when a gunmen opened fire on a beach resort at Sousse.

Police sources said Guebla appeared to have used a home-made bomb rather than a professionally constructed explosive belt.

Guebla, who lived in a marginalised rural area in the eastern Mahdia region, was studying for a doctorate and spent hours on the computer locked in her room, but her family said there was no indication she was being radicalised.

After her death, authorities found "a quantity of raw materials used in the manufacture of explosives" at her house, Mr Fourati said.

Local media reported that her family refused to receive the body and did not attend her burial.