Suicide attack near US embassy in Tunis kills one

Suicide attackers struck outside the US embassy in the Tunisian capital of Tunis on Friday, killing a police officer and wounding six other people, AFP reports.

The latest attack came despite a state of emergency imposed in the North African nation in 2015 following a string of bloody assaults claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

The noon explosion rocked the Berges du Lac district hosting the highly fortified embassy, causing panic among pedestrians and motorists.

“Two individuals targeted a security patrol… in the street leading to the American embassy,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police at the scene said the assailants drove to the area on a motorcycle and detonated their explosive devices as they were approached by officers at a roundabout near the embassy.

The two attackers died and one officer, 52-year-old father of three Lieutenant Taoufik Mohammed El Nissaoui, died of his wounds, according to AFP.

Five more injured officers and a lightly wounded female civilian were in a stable state, Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi told journalists.

“It was a homemade explosive device and we are looking for those who helped make it,” he said.

Local media reported police raids on two working-class neighborhoods in northern Tunis.

Anti-terrorism prosecutors have opened an enquiry, spokesman Sofiene Sliti said, but no arrests had yet been made.

DNA tests were underway to identify the attackers, he said, adding that a large quantity of explosives was used.

While police had said initially that one of the two assailants had tried to enter the embassy but was prevented by police, interior ministry spokesman Khaled Ayouni told AFP that “the police patrol was targeted, rather than the embassy.”

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US ambassador to Tunisia Donald Blome praised authorities for their “immediate protection” of the embassy.

Since the 2011 revolution which ousted former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has witnessed a string of jihadist attacks that have killed dozens of security personnel, civilians and foreign tourists.

2015 was a particularly bloody year, with three major deadly attacks claimed by ISIS.

An attack at the capital’s Bardo museum in March of that year killed 21 foreign tourists and a security guard. Just three months later, 38 foreign tourists were killed in a shooting rampage at the coastal resort of Sousse.

In November of that year, a bomb blast on a bus in central Tunis killed 12 presidential guards.

While the situation has significantly improved since then, Tunisia has maintained a state of emergency.

More recently, in June of last year, twin suicide bombings struck Tunisia’s capital, killing a patrol officer and injuring at least eight people.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)


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