Young Tunisians Embrace Jihad, Raise
Tension at Home
Concerns Widen About Regional Impact of Syria’s Civil War
By MARIA ABI-HABIB, WSJ, Dec. 17, 2013
TUNIS— Aymen Saadi’s parents assumed their 18-year-old son was fighting in Syria after he didn’t come home in August, a casualty of the sophisticated jihadist recruitment network in Tunisia and growing radicalization.
Word of their son came in October, in a breaking radio news report: He had returned to Tunisia and tried to blow himself up in Sousse, a resort popular with Western tourists, as part of a double suicide bombing. Although security intercepted Aymen, his partner detonated his explosive vest on a beach filled with Western tourists—Tunisia’s first suicide bombing in more than a decade. No one else was hurt.
That incident marked a dramatic escalation by Islamic militants who have emerged in Tunisia since the country’s 2011 revolution. The government blamed the attack on Ansar al Shariah, a militant group running a sophisticated jihadist recruitment network in mosques and charities across Tunisia in collaboration with an affiliate in Libya.
…As many as 2,000 Tunisians are fighting in Syria, government officials said, joining al Qaeda branches including the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham and Jabhat al Nusra…