Seven Tunisian women have been arrested on suspicion of providing online support to the Islamic State, the Interior Ministry announced today.
An investigation by the National Unit for Research in Crimes of Terrorism led to the arrest of the unnamed women in Tunis yesterday. The seven are accused of operating an online media cell termed, the Soldiers of the Caliphate, which is believed to have been supervised by the fugitive militant Saifeddine Jmali, also known as Abu Qaqaa.
The Ministry of the Interior have claimed the women admitted to encouraging support for terrorist groups via social media and expressing delight online at terrorist operations within Tunisia.
Speaking about the role of female jihadist recruiters during an earlier interview with Tunisia Live, Badra Gaaloul, the president of the International Centre for Strategic Studies said,” The women recruiters affiliated with Islamic State, (Daesh) have access to streets, mosques, charities and, above all, the Internet. Their number cannot be identified exactly but our centre has estimated that, of the twelve thousand Tunisians going to fight Jihad in Syria or Iraq, at least 10% are women.
“Syrian analyst, Fahd Arabi, has estimated that around 500 Tunisian women are involved directly with Daesh.”
Research by the International Centre for Strategic Studies has revealed that 104 Tunisian women are currently imprisoned on suspicion, or convicted of, coordinating terrorist attacks, or of providing logistical support to terrorist groups. “The best route to recruiting young men and women is through social media.” Gaaloui continued, “They even call it ‘media jihad.’ They generally target young people, aged between fifteen and twenty five, who are already competent Internet users.”
This news comes following the announcement that the military operation against militant positions thought to belong to rival terrorist group, the Al Qaeda in the Maghreb sponsored, Uqba Ibn Nafaa Katibat had entered its fourth day, with territory around Jebel Meghila near Sidi Bouzid being bombarded by the Tunisian air-force yesterday evening.
Zeineb Marzouk is a journalist at Tunisia Live newsroom. She is currently pursuing a Master's degree in English language at the university of Human and social science of Tunis (FSHST). Zeineb speaks Arabic, English, French, and Italian.