Tunisian President Kais Saied on Friday denied any allegations of state anti-Semitism, after a policeman carried out a deadly shooting outside a synagogue on the island of Djerba, in response to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron.
On Tuesday evening, my security carried out an attack on the last day of the annual visit by Jews to the oldest synagogue in Africa, which was targeted in 2002 by a suicide car bomb attack, killing 21 people.
Three police officers and two visitors – one of whom had Tunisian nationality and the other French-Tunisian – were killed by the attacker’s bullets, before the security forces shot him dead.
The Tunisian authorities condemned the “criminal” attack, but refrained from describing it as “terrorism” or giving it an anti-Semitic dimension.
In a speech before the National Security Council (the highest security institution in the country), Saeed described the attack as a “cowardly criminal operation,” stressing that his country “will remain safe.”
On the other hand, the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office in France, whose nationality one of the victims holds, decided to open an investigation for “murder in connection with a terrorist group.”-
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged Wednesday to combat “anti-Semitism”, saying: “Always, tirelessly, we will fight anti-Semitism.”-
Macron added in a tweet: “The attack on the Ghriba Synagogue worries us. We think painfully of the victims, of the Tunisian people, of our friends. We stand by the family of our murdered compatriot.”
Speaking about the attack during a meeting with Prime Minister Naglaa Boudin and a number of ministers, Saied stressed that Tunisia “will remain safe despite the desperate attempts to undermine its stability,” according to a statement issued by the Presidency of the Republic.
The Tunisian president thanked the countries “that declared their sympathy with the Tunisian people” after the attack, stressing at the same time the “rejection of any foreign interference, because the sovereignty of Tunisia and the sovereignty of the people inside the homeland are two lines that no party can cross.”
Qais Saeed also expressed his “astonishment” at “the situations in which accusations of anti-Semitism were made against Tunisia,” without specifying a specific party.
In support of his statements, he referred to legal texts guaranteeing freedom of worship and the rights of minorities in Tunisia, particularly Jews.