Twin suicide blasts rock Tunisia capital

2019-06-27 14:38
Tunisian security forces cordon off the site of an attack in the Tunisian capital's main avenue Habib Bourguiba. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)

Tunisian security forces cordon off the site of an attack in the Tunisian capital's main avenue Habib Bourguiba. (Fethi Belaid, AFP)

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Two suicide bombers attacked security forces in the Tunisian capital on Thursday, killing a police officer and wounding at least eight people including several civilians, the interior ministry said.

One attack on the main street of Tunis wounded three civilians and two police personnel, the interior ministry initially said.

"Five (are) wounded - three civilians and two police officers," Interior Ministry spokesperson Sofiene Zaag told AFP, before later saying that a police officer had died of his wounds.

Body parts were strewn in the road around a police car on Habib Bourguiba avenue near the old city, according to an AFP correspondent.

"It was a suicide attack, which took place at 10:50 (09:50 GMT)," Zaag said.

The second attack targeted a base of the national guard in the capital and wounded four security personnel, the ministry said.

"At 11:00 am (10:00 GMT) an individual blew himself up outside the back door" of the base, wounding four security personnel, Zaag said.

Civil protection units and police rapidly deployed to Habib Bourguiba avenue, where the interior ministry is located.

People initially fled in panic, before some crowded around the scene of the attack, expressing anger against the authorities. Shops and offices were closed by police.

Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring uprisings, has been hit by repeated Islamist attacks since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On October 29, 2018 an unemployed graduate blew herself up near police cars on Habib Bourguiba, killing herself and wounding 26 people, mostly police officers, according to the interior ministry.

The Tunisian authorities said the suicide bomber had sworn allegiance to ISIS.

The attack was the first to rock the Tunisian capital for over three and a half years.

In March 2015, jihadist gunmen killed 21 tourists and a policeman at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

And in June that year, 30 Britons were among 38 foreign holidaymakers killed in a gun and grenade attack on a beach resort near the Tunisian city of Sousse.

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