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Tunisia extends state of emergency by two months

AFP / Kenzo Tribouillard | A Tunisian policeman patrols the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse south of the capital Tunis, on June 28, 2015, following a shooting attack two days earlier.

A state of emergency imposed in Tunisia after a jihadist gunman killed 38 foreign tourists in June is to be extended for two months, the president's office announced Friday.

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"After consultations with the prime minister and the speaker, the president has decided to extend the state of emergency in force nationwide for two months from August 3," it said in a statement.

On July 4 -- eight days after the gun attack at the Mediterranean resort of Port El Kantaoui -- President Beji Caid Essebsi ordered a state of emergency for an initial 30 days.

Presidency spokesman Moez Sinaoui told AFP that the state of emergency extension was decided because Tunisia remained "at war against terrorism".

The decision was not the result of a specific threat "but because the causes (of its initial imposition) are still there," Sinaoui said.

The state of emergency was one of a raft of measures introduced by the authorities after the seaside massacre, which dealt a heavy blow to Tunisia's key tourism industry.

The government began arming tourism police for the first time and reinforced them with troops in a bid to reassure foreign governments.

But Britain, whose nationals accounted for 30 of the dead, warned against all but essential travel to Tunisia, saying more needed to be done to make it a safe holiday destination.

A state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and army, was in force for three years up until March 2014, following longtime secular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ouster in a 2011 revolution.

Apart from allowing the barring of strike action, the measure authorises the authorities to carry out raids on homes at any time of the day and to keep tabs on the media.

(AFP)

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