Tunisia joining US-led coalition against IS: PM

IS claimed an attack that killed 38 foreign tourists at a seaside resort near Sousse in June, and authorities also blame the jihadist group for another that killed 21 foreigners in Tunis in March.

PTI| Updated: Oct 04, 2015, 02:28 AM IST

Tunis: Tunisia's prime minister said that his country is joining the US-led military coalition fighting the Islamist State group in Syria and Iraq mainly to "exchange information".

IS claimed an attack that killed 38 foreign tourists at a seaside resort near Sousse in June, and authorities also blame the jihadist group for another that killed 21 foreigners in Tunis in March.

Joining the coalition would allow Tunis to "obtain all information linked to the war on terror in Tunisia", Habib Essid told media.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama announced Tunisia had joined the coalition, along with Nigeria and Malaysia, and that the alliance now comprised more than 60 countries.

The coalition "includes countries with more information than us," the Tunisian premier said.

Asked whether Tunisia would take part in any military operations, Essid said: "There are cases in which a country can be asked to provide military support in which case we will revert to article 77 of the constitution."

This article provides for "forces to be sent abroad with the agreement of the heads of the parliament and the government".

Since Tunisia's revolution, the North African country has seen a rise in jihadist extremism that the authorities also blame for the deaths of many members of the security forces.

UN experts have said that almost 5,500 Tunisians are fighting alongside jihadists abroad.