An investigation into the cause and time of the execution as well as when the victim was taken hostage by ISIS had been opened, a Tunisian interior ministry official told Asharq Al-Awsat.
On Monday, Libya’s ISIS affiliate released a video purportedly showing the execution of a 39-year-old Tunisian man for spying on behalf of Libya’s internationally recognized government.
The victim, identified as Mohammed Khadrawi, is believed to have been a baker living in the city of Benghazi in eastern Libya.
This is the first time the ultra-radical group has executed a Tunisian national. ISIS announced in early 2014 that it had executed two Tunisian journalists, Sofiene Churab and Nadhir Ktari, but the foreign ministry in Tunis later said it had “proof” they are still alive.
Islamist groups, including ISIS, have exploited the turmoil in Libya which is caught in a power struggle between two rival governments—an internationally recognized one in the eastern city of Tobruk and a self-declared one that controls Tripoli.
Earlier this year, Tunis erected a fence and watchtowers along its border with Libya to prevent the flow of smuggled weapons and fighters.
Faisal Charif, a Tunisian military expert, told Asharq Al-Awsat ISIS released the footage of the execution in order to affect the morale of the Tunisians after it became increasingly difficult for the Islamist group to infiltrate the country.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, the Tunisian secretary of state for Arab and African affairs said although his country “was constantly monitoring” its side of the border with Libya, “Few ISIS members sneak into Tunisia every now and then.”
“Libya does not control the border area as it should do due to political disputes between the Tripoli group and the Benghazi group,” Touhami Abdouli said, referring to the country’s rival governments.
Sawsan Abu-Husain contributed additional reporting from Cairo.