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Tunisia ends deadly siege of museum (Photo, Video) | Everyday in Ukraine 

18-Mar-2015

Автор : Роман Игоревич

Prime minister says at least 17 foreign tourists among 19 killed in assault on Bardo National Museum in Tunis.

Tunisia’s prime minister says 19 people have been killed during a security operation at a museum in the capital after a deadly hostage siege.

The attackers killed at least 17 foreign tourists at the National Bardo Museum in central Tunis during Wednesday’s assault before they were killed, Habib Essid said after the crisis was over, adding that 22 were wounded.

The prime minister added that Italian, German, Polish and Spanish tourists were among those killed in museum attack.

He said his government was working to find out the identity of the two attackers.

Earlier, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said that all hostages were freed and the security operation was over.

Television footage showed dozens of people, including elderly foreigners and one man carrying a child, running for shelter in the compound next to the parliament, covered by security forces aiming rifles into the air.

The parliament located near the museum was evacuated soon after the attack.

“This is cowardly act to undermine our economy and a vital sector [tourism] contributing to it,” Essid said.

“It is long battle to fight. We need all Tunisians to stand up against this act.”

Blow to tourism 

Wednesday’s incident was the first on a tourist site in years in Tunisia, a shaky democracy that has struggled to keep violence at bay since the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.

The attack on such a prominent target is a blow for the small North African country that relies heavily on European tourism and has avoided major violence since its the revolution.

Tunisia has been more stable than other countries in the region, but it has struggled with violence in recent years [Getty Images]

The National Bardo Museum, built within a 15th-century palace, is the largest museum in Tunisia with collections covering two floors, and it houses one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics.

It was not immediately clear who the attackers were.

Tunisia has been more stable than other countries in the region, but it has struggled with violence by armed groups in recent years, including some linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

Tunisia also has fighters linked to al-Qaeda’s North Africa arm who occasionally target Tunisian security forces.

Wednesday’s assault was the worst attack involving foreigners in Tunisia since an al-Qaeda suicide bombing on a synagogue killed 21 people on the tourist island of Djerba in 2002.

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Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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