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Tunisia extends state of emergency by two months

A 30-day state of emergency was initially announced on 4 July
Tunisian security services patrol the Sousse beach resort during a memorial service for those killed (AFP)

A state of emergency imposed in Tunisia after a gunman killed 38 foreign tourists in June is to be extended for two months, the president's office said on Friday.  

"After consultations with the prime minister and the speaker, the president has decided to extend the state of emergency in force nationwide for two months from 3 August," a statement said.

On July - eight days after the gun attack at the Mediterranean resort of Port El Kantaoui - President Beji Caid Essebsi ordered a state of emergency for an initial 30 days.

It was one of a raft of measures introduced by the authorities after the seaside massacre, which dealt a heavy blow to the country's key tourism industry.

The government began arming tourism police for the first time and reinforced them with troops in a bid to reassure foreign governments.

But Britain, whose nationals accounted for 30 of the dead, warned against all but essential travel to Tunisia, saying that more needed to be done to make it safe for holidaymakers.

A state of emergency, granting special powers to the police and army, was in force for three years up until March 2014, following the fall of longtime secular president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a 2011 revolution. 

Apart from allowing the barring of strike action, the measure permit the authorities to carry out raids on homes at any time of the day and to keep tabs on the media.