News   /   North Africa

19 people killed in attack on Tunis museum: Prime Minister

Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015.

At least 19 people, including 17 foreign tourists, have been killed in an armed attack on Tunisia's leading museum in the capital, Tunis, which is adjacent to the parliament.

According to Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid, the attack was carried out at the Bardo Museum, which is located less than 150 meters (500 feet) from the parliament, also known as Assemblee Nationale (National Assembly), on Wednesday.

Essid said Polish, Italian, Spanish, German and Tunisian citizens are among those killed, adding that there were up to five attackers involved in the assault. He noted that 22 tourists and two Tunisians were injured during the incident.

"I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us," said Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during a broadcast on national Television. 

“We will fight them without mercy to our last breath," he added.

Egyptian news portal Ahramonline reported that European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini blamed the ISIL Takfiri militants for the attack, saying “with the attack that has struck Tunis today, the ISIL terrorist organization is once again targeting the countries and peoples of the Mediterranean region.”

A wounded woman arrives on a stretcher at Charles Nicole Hospital following an attack carried out by gunmen at Tunis' Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Earlier in the day, Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman, Mohamed Ali Aroui, told reporters that the assault was carried out by "two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs."

He said about 100 tourists were inside the museum at the time of the attack, adding, "The majority of tourists were evacuated."

Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015. ©AFP

Monia Brahim, a Tunisian lawmaker, was quoted by AFP as saying that parliamentary work has been suspended after shots fired with deputies gathering in the building's hall.

Lawmakers were apparently discussing anti-terrorism legislation prior to attack on Tunisian parliament.

The official Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP) news agency said shooting had broken out at the museum around midday on Wednesday.

The radio said three men dressed in military-style clothing may have taken hostages inside the museum.

France: Hostage taken

Hours after the attack in Tunisia, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (shown below) said hostages were taken in the "terrorist" attack on a museum in the Tunisian capital.

"I condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest terms. There has been a hostage-taking, without doubt tourists have been affected, killed," Valls said in Brussels following talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

He added, "This attack cruelly illustrates the threat that we are all confronted with in Europe, in the Mediterranean, around the world. France, Tunisia and Europe will act together to fight terrorism."

Juncker, for his part, said he was also following events in Tunis, adding that he did not want to say much "because there is a hostage situation."

Gunmen killed

Later in the day, state television announced that two gunmen, who had attacked the Tunisian museum, were killed as well as a policeman.

"A policeman and two terrorists were killed," Wataniya 1 television reported. A police source confirmed the death of the policeman to AFP.

An image grab taken from the state-run Tunisia 1 channel on March 18, 2015, shows people escaping from Tunis' famed Bardo Museum during an attack by two men armed with assault rifles. ©AFP

Meanwhile, Aroui said on Radio Mosaique that the standoff is over after the raid Wednesday afternoon, adding that all hostages were freed in deadly attack.

According to the latest reports, three attackers are still on the loose.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku