Suicide bomber strikes near hotel in Sousse, Tunisia

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Suicide bomber strikes near hotel in Sousse, Tunisia

Suicide bomber strikes near hotel in Sousse, Tunisia
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A suicide bomber blew himself up on Wednesday in the Tunisian resort of Sousse without causing other casualties.

He detonated his explosive belt on a beach near the Palm Hotel in Sousse, an important tourist destination south of the capital Tunis.

“The bomber had tried to get into the hotel, but when he was not allowed in, he ran onto the beach and blew himself up,” a security source said.

Police also seized a would-be suicide bomber at the tomb of former President Habib Bourguiba in the seaside town of Monastir.

Bombings are rare in Tunisia, but the government has said Islamist militants have exploited the chaos in neighbouring Libya to acquire arms and get training.

Earlier this year, Tunisia’s Islamist-led government began a crackdown on Ansar al-Sharia, one of the most radical groups to emerge since the country’s 2011 uprising.

The group’s leader is a former al Qaeda veteran who once fought in Afghanistan. Nine policemen were killed in clashes with militants earlier this month.

The bombing is bad news for the vital tourism industry in Tunisia, which attracted 5.8 million mostly European visitors to its Mediterranean beaches and desert tours in 2012.

Tourism is still recovering from the 2011 uprising that toppled the North African country’s autocratic leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Since then, Islamists have pressed for strict Sharia law to be imposed in one of the Muslim world’s most secular countries.