Washington - The United States on Tuesday called on Tunisian leaders to implement a plan to protect the country's religious and historic sites, denouncing a wave of recent attacks on Sufi shrines.

“We condemn all attacks against religious sites and support the call of Tunisian citizens and political leaders who have demanded a full investigation into the causes,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

She added that the sacking of religious sites, believed to have been carried out by hardline Islamists, had “damaged and destroyed valuable parts of Tunisia's rich cultural patrimony”.

“We urge the government of Tunisia to implement its own proposed action plan to improve the protection of all of Tunisia's important and diverse religious and historical sites,” Nuland said.

Sufi officials in Tunisia have blamed ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims for the attacks, including the torching of shrines, saying almost 40 sites have been ransacked in the past few months. - Sapa-AFP