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Crime
17 foreign tourists among 21 killed in Tunisia museum attack
19-03-2015

TUNIS: Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said 21 people died on Wednesday after an attack on a major museum, including 17 foreign tourists, and that two or three of the attackers remain at large.

Habib Essid told national television that the foreigners included tourists from Poland, Italy, Germany and Spain. He said that two of the attackers were killed in a gunfight with police today, and that security forces are hunting for two or three others believed to have been involved.

The attack was the worst in years on a tourist site in Tunisia, which is struggling to solidify its young democracy and prevent violence by Islamic extremists. Seventeen foreigners were killed, as were a Tunisian security officer and a cleaning woman, the interior ministry spokesman said.

The museum is a leading tourist attraction that chronicles Tunisia’s history and houses one of the world’s largest collections of Roman mosaics. It is unclear who the attackers are. Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists in recent years, including some linked to the Islamic State group.

Tunisia recently completed a rocky road to democracy after overthrowing its authoritarian president in 2011. It has been more stable than other countries in the region, but it has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists in recent years, including some linked to IS. It also has extremists linked to al-Qaida’s North Africa arm who occasionally target Tunisian security forces.

A disproportionately large number of Tunisia recruits have joined IS fighters in Syria and Iraq.