THE Tunisian suspect in yesterday’s attack in which three people were killed in Nice in southern France was not listed by Tunisian police as a suspected militant before he left the country in September, a judiciary official said.
Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, left Tunisia by boat on September 14 said the official, Mohsen Dali, and arrived in Nice on Wednesday. Tunisia has opened an investigation into Aouissaoui, who was detained by French police after the attack, Dali said.
Aouissaoui is originally from the village of Sidi Omar Bouhajla near Kairouan, but had lately been living in Sfax and police are questioning his family there, a Tunisian security source said.
Sfax, a major port about 130km (80 miles) from the small Italian island of Lampedusa, is a major point of departure for Tunisians seeking to make the dangerous and illegal crossing to Europe.
A French police source said Aouissaoui wasn’t known to French intelligence services either.
“The public prosecutor of the anti-terrorism court has opened a forensic investigation into the suspicion that a Tunisian committed a terrorist operation abroad,” Dali said.
The last major attack in Nice was also carried out by a Tunisian man who had emigrated to France in 2005 before driving a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in 2016, killing 86 people.
Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry condemned the latest Nice attack and a branch of the judiciary said it has opened an investigation into the suspect. – Thomson Reuters Foundation.