Tunis suicide bombs kill police officer, injure at least 8

A crowd gathered at the scene of the blast in Tunis
A crowd gathered at the scene of the blast in Tunis Copyright REUTERS
By Alastair JamiesonReuters
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A witness described a huge blast followed by dust and panic after a bomber targeted a police car near the French Embassy in the Tunisian capital.


Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks on police in Tunis on Thursday, killing one police officer and wounding several other people, the Tunisian government said.

A worker at the French Embassy, who was in the street close to the first blast, told Euronews that it hit the junction between Avenue de France and Rue Charles de Gaulle where many police had already gathered to stop illegal tradesmen.

He heard an enormous explosion and turned around to see a pickup truck blown into pieces. There was a lot of dust in the air.

Afterwards, there was panic, the embassy worker said.

A second suicide bomber blew himself up at the back door of a police station in al-Qarjani, injuring four security workers who were taken to hospital with varying injuries, the Interior Ministry said.

It was not immediately known who was behind the attacks, which took place months before an election and at the peak of a tourist season in which Tunisia is hoping for a record number of visitors.

Jean-Charles Brisard, President of the Terrorism Analysis Center at Sciences Po Strasbourg, said the first blast happened close to the site of a similar attack on two police officers on October 28, 2018.

Security personnel cordoned off the scene of the first blast in TunisREUTERS

The U.S. Embassy in Tunis advised Americans to avoid the area until further notice and monitor local media.

Tunisia has been battling militant groups operating in remote areas near the border with Algeria since an uprising overthrew autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

High unemployment has also stoked unrest in recent years.

Security has improved since authorities imposed a state of emergency in November 2015 after two attacks — one at a museum in Tunis and another on a beach in Sousse. A third attack targeted presidential guards in the capital and killed 12. Islamic State claimed responsibility for those.

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