Head of Tunisian museum attack cell arrested – official

2015-03-25 13:22
An image grab taken from the state-run Tunisia 1 channel shows people escaping from Tunis' famed Bardo Museum during an attack by men armed with assault rifles. (Tunisia 1, AFP)

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

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Tunis - The accused leader of the jihadist cell behind last week's deadly attack on Tunis' Bardo Museum has been arrested, a senior Interior Ministry official told a local newspaper on Wednesday.

The cell was made up of 16 jihadists, two of whom had returned from fighting in Syria, the ministry's head of security affairs, Rafik Echilli, told the Al-Maghreb newspaper.

Echilli did not name the alleged leader of the cell or say when or where the suspect was detained.

Twenty tourists and a policeman were killed 18 March when three gunmen opened fire at the entrance to the museum before taking hostages inside the building.

Two of the attackers were killed by police while a third is still at large.

Supporters of the Islamic State militant group published an audio recording saying the group was behind the attack, but analysts have expressed caution about the claim.

The attack was the deadliest to have taken place on Tunisian soil. The country's jihadist movements mainly operate in the western mountains near the Algerian border, where they have repeatedly clashed with police.

The museum held a ceremonial reopening concert on Tuesday and is expected to reopen its doors to the public on Sunday.

Read more on:    north africa  |  tunisia attack

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