Hundreds of Jews are making a pilgrimage to the ancient Tunisian synagogue of El Ghriba on the island of Djerba, despite warnings of a possible terror attack against Jewish targets.
“There is a lot of security, there are soldiers and police everywhere and that is very reassuring to us,” French-Jewish tourist Lorine Bendayan told AFP.
Tunisian security forces have erected barriers and checkpoints around the Jewish district on the island.
On Sunday, Tunisian Interior Minister Mohamed Nahem Gharsalli visited Djerba with other Tunisian senior security officials to assess the preparations for the pilgrimage, promising that the Tunisian government will protect the Jewish population.
“My visit is part of monitoring the latest preparations ahead of the pilgrimage to El Ghriba and the mobilisation of security and military forces and the civil protection and Navy to ensure the success of festivities,” said Gharsalli, AllAfrica.com reported.
Gharsalli added, “Tunisia is able to protect Jews and all its guests better than any other country.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that Israel has received “concrete threats” of terror attacks against Jewish and Israeli targets in Tunisia.
In the past year, North Africa has become a hotbed for Islamic extremism, with the al-Qaeda and Islamic State terror groups both active in neighboring Libya, where they have murdered dozens of Christians.