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LA STAMPA

After Beach Massacre, A Visit To Tunisia's Extremist Mosque

Seifeddine Rezgui, perpetrator of last Friday's attack in Sousse, often prayed at the "God's Mercy" mosque in Kairouan, Tunisia. A look inside.

Soldiers and onlookers at the site of the attack in Sousse
Soldiers and onlookers at the site of the attack in Sousse
Grazia Longo

KAIROUAN — The searing Tunisian heat and the stench of rancid olives emanating from a nearby olive oil factory make for an unbearable morning in Kairouan, Islam's fourth holiest city after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Bright sunshine bathes the mosque's white dome with even brighter intensity as we approach the Muslim site where we have since learned a young student was radicalized before slaughtering 38 tourists last Friday on a beach in the resort town of Sousse.

Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old studying for a masters degree in engineering, practiced breakdancing in his free time when he wasn't praying in this Kairouan mosque named "God's Mercy" and ironically located in the Gharbia district of the city, which means "West" in Arabic. At first he frequented Kairouan's famed Great Mosque, but eventually Rezgui began attending this very small house of worship in the old city, not far from where he lived with two other students.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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