Gunmen target tourists in central Tunis

Camille Lafrance, RFI

Gunmen fired shots in central Tunis on Wednesday, killing at least eight people and taking hostages at the National Bardo Museum, according to Tunisian officials.


The eight victims were tourists, according to a spokesman for the interior ministry. Seven of them were foreigners and one was a Tunisian national, spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said, adding that the assault was carried out by "two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs".

About 100 tourists had been inside the museum when the attack occurred, he said.

"The majority of tourists were evacuated.”

Aroui would not confirm reports of an alleged hostage-taking at the museum but said, "There is information according to which there are still tourists (inside).”

Security forces surrounded at least two assailants at the National Bardo Museum, which shares grounds with the country’s parliament.

The museum is popular among Western tourists for its archeological collection.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was expected to make a public statement on the attack later Wednesday.

Prime Minister Habib Essid has also called an emergency meeting with the interior and defence ministers.

There was initially some confusion about the intended target of the attack. The first reports said three militants had attacked the parliament building, but local media later said the assailants’ aim was to take tourists hostage.



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