Tunisian security forces have thwarted an attempted attack on the local Jewish community, Army Radio reported. One Tunisian was reportedly arrested for planning to carry out an attack on the Great Synagogue, located in Tunis, the country's capital. After he was interrogated, an accomplice, also a Tunisian citizen, was arrested as well.
Jews have lived in Tunisia for centuries, but most have emigrated to Israel and elsewhere since the end of World War II. Estimates currently put Tunisia's Jewish community at around 1,700 people. The majority, about 1,000, live on the island of Djerba, which is known for its 2,500-year-old El Ghriba Synagogue. That synagogue is the site of a yearly pilgrimage for many Israelis and Jews from around the world; in May, Tunisia announced that it would seek UNESCO World Heritage status for the whole island.
In May of this year, ahead of the annual pilgrimage to Djerba, Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau upgraded its travel warning for Tunisia, warning visitors that terrorists continue carrying out attacks against a variety of targets in Tunisia. A 2002 terror attack on the El Ghriba synagogue, perpetrated by Al-Qaida, killed 20 people.
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