On Wednesday, June 14, President Beji Caid Essebsi announced that the ongoing state of emergency in Tunisia will be extended by four months. The decree grants authorities additional powers in the interest of maintaining civil order as part of wider counter-terrorism efforts. Under the terms of the state of emergency, authorities can ban strikes and gatherings they believe could threaten public order, temporarily close theaters and bars, and assert control over the press and all types of publications. The prolongation of the state of emergency was justified by the continued instability on the country's borders as well as general national security concerns.
The current state of emergency has already been extended numerous times and Tunisia has been under a near-constant state of emergency since June 2015. Although briefly lifted in October 2015, it was reinstated following the November 24, 2015, bus bombing that killed a dozen security guards in downtown Tunis. Authorities frequently dismantle suspected terrorist cells in counterterrorism operations conducted across the country, particularly focused in the eastern Chambi mountain region (Kasserine governorate), where a number of terrorist groups are entrenched. According to estimates by the Ministry of the Interior, several thousand Tunisian nationals are currently fighting for the Islamic State (IS) and other armed groups in Iraq and Syria, raising fears that they could return to Tunisia to perpetrate attacks.
Individuals in Tunisia are advised to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities, particularly when visiting sites deemed particularly likely to be targeted in an attack (public transportation, train stations, ports, airports, public or government buildings, embassies or consulates, international organizations, schools and universities, religious sites, markets, hotels and restaurants frequented by foreigners/Westerners, festivals, etc.). Certain Western governments advise against travel to the south of the country on the borders with Algeria and Libya, and the Kasserine region, due to the presence of armed groups.
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