Tunisia extends state of emergency, citing extremist threat

PARIS (AP) — Tunisian authorities have extended a state of emergency in place since 2015, citing a persistent threat of extremist violence from neighboring Libya and elsewhere.

The Tunisian president's office announced the 3-month extension in a statement Thursday. Defense Minister Farhat Horchani said this week that despite frequent government operations to dismantle extremist cells, "as long as Libya doesn't have a government that can control the situation, the threat exists."

Tunisia has built a sand wall along half the desert border with Libya, and received six U.S. combat helicopters this month aimed at helping the North African country fight terrorism.

Tunisia was hit by a string of extremist attacks targeting tourists and the presidential guard in 2015, and an unusually high number of Tunisians have joined the Islamic State group.