Scene of Tunisia terror attack
Scene of Tunisia terror attackReuters

The Tunisian jihadist behind the recent massacre of foreigners at a seaside resort had previously worked in tourism, officials said Sunday, according to AFP.

Meanwhile, the mother of the jihadist, 23-year-old Seifeddine Rezgui, insisted her son was "brainwashed", the report said.

In an interview on Sunday, Prime Minister Habib Essid revealed more details about Rezgui, who gunned down 38 foreign tourists in the June 26 attack.

"We know he was a member of a dance club and was familiar with the tourism sector, having worked in it as an events organizer," Essid was quoted as having told the French-language newspaper La Presse.

Tourists fled in horror as Rezgui pulled a Kalashnikov assault rifle from inside a furled beach umbrella and went on a shooting spree outside a five-star hotel.

The attack at Port El Kantaoui, north of Sousse, killed 30 Britons, three Irish nationals, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and a Russian.

Rezgui was shot dead by police.

Authorities and relatives later described him as having been an apparently normal young man who had been keen on breakdancing.

His mother, Radhia Manai, told Britain's Sunday Times her son must have been "brainwashed" by extremists as previously he would not have hurt a mouse.

"When they told me my son had killed all these people I said no, it's impossible," she said.

"I can't believe it. Once there was a mouse in the house and I asked Seifeddine to kill it and he refused saying, 'I can't kill anything,'” she added.

"God bless the victims, all those people and their poor families, and I feel so sorry but I want to tell them it wasn't my son who did this, it was another Seifeddine," she said.

She said he was "a victim like all the others".

The attack on the beach and around the swimming pools of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel was claimed by the Islamic State group.

While authorities have said Rezgui acted alone during the attack, they believe he had accomplices who supported him beforehand. As of Thursday, there had been eight suspects, including a woman, who remained in custody on suspicion of being directly linked to the attack.

The authorities have admitted that the transformation of an apparently normal young man caused amazement in Tunisia.

Essid pledged to La Presse "substantive work... on culture and education", in addition to economic reforms.

"We now know what causes individuals to become involved in extremism, be it financial difficulties or religious ideology," he said.

"We are also studying ways of 'deradicalizing' our young people who return from Syria," he added.

On Saturday, eight days after the deadly rampage, President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency, saying the attack had left Tunisia facing a "special type of war".

The measure, effective from Saturday for a 30-day period, allows authorities to bar strike action and public meetings deemed dangerous to public order and to increase controls on the media, noted AFP.

The attack in Tunisia took place on the same day as a series of other attacks, at least one of which was also claimed by an ISIS affiliate.

At least 27 people were killed in a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait on the same day. The bomber is believed to have been a Saudi national, and a group linked to Islamic State claimed the attack shortly after.

That same Friday, a Muslim terrorist beheaded his boss and injured several others in a gruesome attack in the French city of Lyon.

ISIS has encouraged its followers to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, though the State Department said after the three attacks that there was no evidence they were related.