In one of the deadliest attack on civilians in the North African country, Tunisia, in 13 years, at least 19 people have lost their lives including two gunmen that were slain by security forces following the terror attack at the nation’s museum, NBC News reports.
Prime Minister Habib Essid confirmed that the two Tunisian gunmen killed 17 tourists — five from Japan, four from Italy, two from Colombia, two from Spain, and one each from Australia, Poland and France. The nationality of one dead foreigner is yet to be released. Essid also said that two Tunisian nationals were killed by the militants.
At least 44 people were wounded, including tourists from Italy, France, Japan, South Africa, Poland, Belgium and Russia, according to Essid and doctors from Tunis’ Charles Nicolle.
“I want the people of Tunisia to understand firstly and lastly that we are in a war with terror, and these savage minority groups will not frighten us,” said newly elected President Beji Caid Essebsi in an evening address to the nation. “The fight against them will continue until they are exterminated.”
The militants reportedly wore military-style uniform and using their assault rifles busted out from a vehicle and began gunning down tourists climbing out of buses at the National Bardo Museum. The attackers then charged inside the museum to take hostages before two of them were killed in a firefight with security forces. Authorities have launched a manhunt for two or three accomplices in the attack they believe may be on the run.
The Bardo Museum in Tunis is built on a 15th century palace and is a tourist attraction to all visitors of the North African country. It contains 8,000 works, including one of the world’s largest collection of Roman mosaic. According to BBC News, some of the artifacts displayed in the museum were more than 40,000 years old.