Several gunmen dressed as military stormed the national museum of Tunisia at around noon on Wednesday, and killed 19 people including 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians. More than 22 people were injured. Two terrorists had been shot dead, and a massive manhunt for the remaining two to three was going on, as told by the Tunisian Prime Minister, Habib Essid. Though, the identity of attackers is still unknown, a link to the Islamic State group was being examined, he added.
As per a report by NYT, eight people were killed as they alighted from a bus to see the National Bardo Museum adjacent to the parliament in the central Tunisia. Ten others taken hostage were later killed. A security guard has also been reported killed in the shoot out. The Tunisian President has called upon the people to unite, and termed the attack as an attempt to destroy the economy of the country. Federica Mogherini, European Union foreign policy chief, apprehended terrorist organizations to be behind the attack. She added that the EU has resolved to use all its tools to help Tunisia fight terrorism.
Television footages exhibited several dozen people including elderly and children fleeing for life surrounded by security forces. The attack on such a central place of the country is a serious blow for the North African country which depends heavily on European tourists for its economic development. The country has so far successfully avoided terrorism on its soil since the 2011 uprising that ousted the then autocrat Zine-El-Abidine Ben Ali. The uprising is widely termed as the beginning of the “Arab Spring”.
Tunisia has been comparatively a stable country, but has been facing Islamist violence in the recent past. The link to these terrorists to the Islamic State cannot be ruled out.