British military support to counter-IED training in Tunisia has been extended for an additional year, the Defence Secretary has announced.
According to a Ministry of Defence press release, the extension of the in-country team underlines the UK’s support against the threat posed by extremists, Michael Fallon has said, with Tunisia a frontline state in the fight against Daesh.
The small team, comprising counter-IED and training specialists, deployed in March last year. They have been instrumental, as part of a multinational team, in bringing structure and clarity to training at the Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) School in Tunisia, helping transform it into a specialist centre offering 14 different courses.
The decision to extend will enable British personnel to help the Tunisian Security Forces reach international standards of capability and achieve self-sufficiency in training.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
“This support will help our ally Tunisia to protect innocent civilians from terrorism. It underlines our determination to defeat Daesh and our commitment to security in the region.”
The commitments come as Britain marks the one-year anniversary of the terror attack in Sousse in which 38 people were killed, including 30 Britons.
On the 26th of June 2015, a mass shooting attack occurred at the tourist resort at Port El Kantaoui, about 10 kilometres north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia.
Thirty-eight people, 30 of whom were British, were killed when an armed gunman attacked a hotel. It was the deadliest non-state attack in the history of modern Tunisia, with more fatalities than the 22 killed in the Bardo National Museum attack 3 months before.
In July that year, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office changed the advised status of the country to “Advise against all but essential travel”, resulting in the planned return home of the estimated 3,000 British nationals in Tunisia at that time. ABTA and travel organisations First Choice, TUI and Thomson had stated that they planned to send no further British tourists to Tunisia until post October that year.