Two suicide bombers strike in Tunis


Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks on police in the Tunisian capital, killing a police officer and wounding several people, government said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks according to the militant group’s Amaq news agency.

The attacks came months before an election and at the peak of a tourist season with Tunisia hoping for a record number of visitors.

The first suicide bomber targeted a police patrol in Charles de Gaulle Street in central Tunis.A police officer was killed and at least one other as well as three civilians were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

Shortly afterward, a second bomber blew himself up near a police station in al-Gorjani district. Four people were wounded, the ministry said.

Heavily armed police cordoned off the attack sites, one about 200 metre from the French embassy. Reuters witnesses saw people rushing from the scene, while the body of a suicide bomber lay on the ground.

“I was shopping with my daughter and we heard a big explosion. We saw the body of the terrorist lying on the ground near a police vehicle after he blew himself up,” said a man who gave his name only as Mohamed.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sofian Zaak said the attackers had not yet been identified and called on the public to show strength and not panic.

Tunisia has been battling militant groups in remote areas near the Algerian border since an uprising overthrew autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. High unemployment stoked unrest in recent years.

Last October, a woman blew herself up in the centre of Tunis, wounding 15 people including 10 police officers in an explosion that ended a long period of calm after dozens died in militant attacks in 2015.

Security improved after authorities imposed a state of emergency in November 2015 after attacks – one at a Tunis museum and another on a beach in the seaside town Sousse. A third attack targeted presidential guards in the capital. Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The attacks scared off holidaymakers and investors, worsening the country’s economic problems.