The Latest: 22 killed in Tunisia attack; 2-3 gunmen at large
Published 12:40 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2015
5:35 p.m. (1635 GMT; 12:35 p.m. EDT)
Tunisian state television says the death toll in an attack on a prominent museum has risen to 22, including several foreign tourists and two gunmen.
Authorities say assailants opened fire on the National Bordo Museum on Wednesday, killing tourists and a cleaning woman and wounding several others. Security forces later stormed the museum, killing two gunmen and a security officer. At least two or three other accomplices may be at large.
State television said Wednesday afternoon that the death toll had risen to 22 people, including the two attackers. The report, citing medical officials, did not give a breakdown of nationalities.
World leaders offered their support to Tunisia’s government. The prime minister promised extra security in tourist zones and asked residents to be extra alert.
4:25 p.m. (1525 GMT; 11:25 a.m. EDT)
Tunisia’s prime minister says 21 people are dead after an attack on a major museum, including 17 foreign tourists — and that two or three of the attackers remain at large.
Habib Essid told national television that the foreigners included tourists from Poland, Italy, Germany and Spain.
He said that two of the attackers were killed in a gunfight with police on Wednesday, and that security forces are hunting for two or three others believed to have been involved.
The attack was the worst in years on a tourist site in Tunisia, which is struggling to solidify its young democracy and prevent violence by Islamic extremists.
Seventeen foreigners were killed, as were a Tunisian security officer and a cleaning woman, the interior ministry spokesman said.
3:55 p.m. (1455 GMT; 10:55 a.m. EDT)
Italy’s Foreign Ministry says two Italians have been injured in an attack on a leading museum in Tunisia’s capital, and 100 Italians inside the museum have been taken to a secure location.
At least 11 people were killed in Wednesday’s attack and ensuing gunfight at the National Bardo Museum, including seven foreign tourists and the two gunmen, Tunisian authorities said.
Some of the Italians in the museum were believed to have been passengers aboard the Costa Fascinosa, a cruise liner making a seven-day trip of the western Mediterranean that had docked in Tunis.
Ship owner Costa Crociere confirmed that some of the 3,161 passengers were visiting the Tunisian capital Wednesday and that a tour of the Bardo was on the itinerary, but said it couldn’t confirm how many, if any, passengers were in the museum at the time. It said it had recalled all the passengers to the ship and was in touch with local authorities and the Italian Foreign Ministry.
3:30 p.m. (1430 GMT; 10:30 a.m. EDT)
Tunisia’s Interior Ministry says two gunmen and a security officer have been killed in a raid on a major museum that left several tourists dead.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said on Radio Mosaique that the standoff is over after the raid Wednesday afternoon.
The two gunmen had opened fire on the National Bardo Museum earlier Wednesday. Authorities said at least eight people were killed, including seven foreign tourists, and six people were wounded. Several tourists remained holed up inside the museum before security forces surrounded and then stormed the building.
It was the worst attack on a tourist site in Tunisia in years, and comes as the country is trying to establish democracy and keep Islamic extremists at bay.
1:30 p.m. (1230 GMT; 8:30 a.m. EDT)
A Tunisian official says eight people have been killed in a shooting attack on a leading museum.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui said on Radio Mosaique that only one of the dead in Wednesday’s attack was a Tunisian. He did not provide nationalities for the others.
The National Bardo Museum is adjacent to the national parliament building, which was being evacuated after the shooting.
The museum is a leading tourist attraction that chronicles Tunisia’s history and houses one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics.
It is unclear who the attackers are. Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists in recent years, including some linked to the Islamic State group.