Tunisia had been due to increase security
Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30
Thirty-eight tourists died in a gun attack just days before Tunisia planned to implement heightened security measures for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the country's president has revealed.
However, the plans, which were scheduled to be put into place on July 1, had not anticipated an assault on tourist beaches, Beji Caid Essebsi added.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio, Mr Essebsi said an investigation into security failures was under way, and there will now be armed tourist police on the beaches. Army reservists have also been called up.
The attack in Sousse is expected to cripple the vital tourism sector, with the Tunisian tourism minister, Samia Elloumi, predicting €449m in losses for 2015.
Mr Essebsi said: "It is not a perfect system - it is true we were surprised by this affair.
"They took measures for the month of Ramadan but never did they think the attack would be on the beaches against tourists, and the system of protection was set to start on July 1."
Mr Essebsi (88) is a veteran of Tunisia's pre-revolutionary regime and was elected last autumn on a platform of restoring security and dignity to the state.