Gunmen attack Tunisian parliament, 8 killed

8 tourist were killed in an apparent terrorist attack in Tunisia, two assailants surrounded in nearby museum.

March 18, 2015 15:27
Islamic State fighters

Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

TUNIS- Gunmen attacked Tunisia's parliament building on Wednesday, killing at least eight tourists and taking other visitors hostage in a nearby museum, a government official said.

Security forces were surrounding at least two militants in the Bardo museum in central Tunis, a venue that is often packed with foreigners, the interior ministry spokesman added.

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Exchanges of gunfire first rang out from parliament around midday, TAP state news agency reported, and witnesses said large bodies of police moved in to try and evacuate the area.

Tunisia, whose 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali inspired "Arab Spring" revolts in Egypt, Syria and Libya, has up to now largely avoided the chaos and violence that has plagued those countries.

But Tunisia's armed forces have been fighting Islamist militants who emerged after the uprising.

Several thousand Tunisians have also left the country to fight for militant groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya, and the government is worried about returning jihadis carrying out attacks at home.

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