Star Wars Tatooine Sets New Way-Station for ISIS Terrorists
The United States Embassy in Tunisia is warning fans of the "Star Wars" films to stay away from the city of Tataouine and other classic filming locations near the Libyan border after recent ISIS activity in the area.
The small desert city's name and surroundings served as inspiration for Tatooine, a desert planet that features prominently in the beloved science-fantasy film franchise. Surrounding desert vistas also served as filming locations, and countless "Star Wars" fans flock there as a sort of pilgrimage.
However, CNN recently reported that the place may have become a way-station for Islamic State recruits trying to cross the border into Libya 60 miles to the east. According to the CNN piece, three potential recruits were recently arrested in the area, and two arms caches, including one that contained rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, have been found this month.
Reports say the area closely resembles that of the fictional world in "Star Wars" in that it is a haven for smugglers.
In the "Star Wars" films, Tatooine is the homeworld of Anakin Skywalker, who would grow up to be the villainous Darth Vader. It is also where his son and the hero of the original films, Luke Skywalker, grew up before teaming up with Obi-Wan Kenobi to take on the evil Galactic Empire.
Now it seems as if the people of Tataouine have their own evil empire to combat. The Tunisian government has taken steps to improve security along the Libyan border, but ISIS sympathizers inside its borders and in surrounding North African nations have made it difficult to maintain security. Tunisia's economy relies heavily on French and German tourism, as well as flocks of "Star Wars" fans looking to connect with movie history.