Tunis. At least nineteen people were killed on Wednesday in a terrorist attack near the Parliament in the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
The attack began at noon when at least two gunmen armed with AK rifles opened fire at tourist groups at Bardo Museum near the nation’s Parliament. Seventeen foreign tourists from Italy, Germany, Poland and Spain, as well as a local, were killed as a result of the shooting. More than 40 other people, including tourists and locals, were wounded.
Tunisian news channel Wataniya 1 reported that the gunmen had held other tourists hostage in the museum, but a police raid later resolved the situation. One police officer and two terrorists were killed in the operation. A search for accomplices to the gunmen continues.
Both Parliament and the museum have been evacuated, but heavily armed security forces remain present in the area.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi announced that his country is in “war with terror” and that Tunisia will “resist them [terrorists] until the deepest end without mercy” in a televised speech after the attack. The United Nations Security Council as well as other foreign figures, including French Foreign Minister Manuel Valls, also condemned the shooting.
Bardo Museum hosts a rich collection of mosaics and other items from Ancient Rome, Greece and Carthage and is a major attraction in Tunisia, which has a strong tourism sector. However, terrorism is an increasing concern as many Tunisians have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join jihadist groups, while neighbouring Libya has descended into chaos and further complicates domestic security issues.
(Updates: Casualty figures, domestic and international reactions)