Tunisian security forces made 16 arrests against Takfiris (religious extremists) amid rising confrontations with the protestors, some of whom were under custody or house arrest, the Tunisian Interior Ministry announced.
Interior Ministry Spokesman Khalifa al- Chibani warned against the possibility of terrorist organizations exploiting social protests to mobilize dormant terror cells, pushing Tunisia towards further chaos.
Defendants proved their involvement in looting and arson across several provinces amid national demonstrations protesting price hikes, said Chibani in a statement.
The Interior Ministry also reported that it had also arrested a terrorist in the north-eastern town of Al-Hawariya and said that the accused had published and set up posters provoking anti-security forces sentiment.
After publicly announcing allegiance to ISIS, the terrorist also had deliberately uploaded posts and pictures glorifying the terror organization on his personal Facebook page.
He is accused of inciting and implicitly stoking pro-terror sentiment in an upbeat manner with raging protests nationwide.
According to official statistics provided by the interior ministry, about 800 terrorists who had fought along militias on battlefields now have returned to Tunisia.
Some 137 terrorists are under security surveillance or under house arrest.
When it comes to Tunisia, terrorism is a threat in such situations involving public unrest-- as it strives after investing in it, as do smuggling mobsters who thrive in similar environments, Tunisian security expert Ali al-Zermaidini told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“As security forces strike terror groups and successfully carry out operations, terror sleeping cells and radicals always look for a chance to spur disorder and incite chaos to weaken state institutions,” Zermadini added.
National security agencies say that the number of sleeping terrorist cells is between 300 to 400 cells—all of which present an imminent threat waiting for an opportune moment to attack civilians and disturb state institutions.
Meanwhile, the ministry said the situation in Tunisia has been gradually calming.
The clashes have caused damage in 11 provinces to municipal depots, police stations, private businesses, commercial spaces and banks.
According to Chibani, 96 security guards were injured and 87 vehicles were damaged during the three nights of confrontation.
A report by the Tunisian National Directorate of National Security revealed that 31 percent of participants in looting and vandalism are between 15 and 20 years old, while 55 percent are between the ages of 21 and 30.