Six individuals have died in Tunisia after a police officer shot a colleague and opened fireplace on a 2,500-year-old synagogue.
The attacker killed his National Guard colleague together with his service weapon at a naval set up on the island of Djerba earlier than seizing ammunition and travelling to a synagogue and taking pictures police and guests on Tuesday.
The shooter was then shot lifeless by safety guards. He has not been publicly recognized.
Among these killed have been two Jewish cousins – one French and the opposite Israeli-Tunisian – together with one police officer who died on the scene and a second police officer who died in hospital at the moment.
Eight others have been injured – 4 law enforcement officials, together with one in a essential situation, and 4 civilians.
Tunisia‘s overseas ministry mentioned the civilians killed have been French and Tunisian.
Officials mentioned they have been investigating a motive for the assault.
Former tourism minister Rene Trabelsi mentioned the attacker arrived on a quad bike and was sporting physique armour.
The assault occurred throughout an annual Jewish pilgrimage on the 2,500-year-old Ghriba temple – one in every of Africa’s oldest synagogues. It was unclear whether or not the civilians killed have been pilgrims.
Videos circulating on-line confirmed panic-stricken guests working whereas gunshots rang out.
“People were happy and dancing until we heard a lot of gunfire. Everyone ran away… some hid in my office and others in the other rooms. There was lots of fear,” mentioned Peres Trabelsi, head of Djerba’s Jewish neighborhood.
The picturesque Mediterranean island of Djerba is off the southern coast of Tunisia and is house to the nation’s predominant Jewish neighborhood. It is round 300 miles (500km) from the capital Tunis.
Tunisia, which is a majority Muslim nation, is house to one in every of North Africa’s largest Jewish communities with about 1,800 members.
In 2002, a truck bombing killed 21 individuals on the entrance to the identical temple in the course of the annual Jewish pilgrimage.
Al-Qaida claimed accountability for that assault, with German and French vacationers among the many victims.
The pilgrimage has had tight safety for the reason that 2002 assault.
In 2015, an assault in Tunisia on the Mediterranean resort of Sousse killed 38 individuals, principally British vacationers.
The Islamic State group claimed accountability for that assault, together with assaults that yr on the famed Bardo Museum within the capital Tunis and on a bus carrying presidential guards.
Israel’s overseas ministry described Tuesday’s assault as a “lethal shooting incident”, with a spokesperson saying it was nonetheless below investigation.
The United States and France mentioned in statements that Tunisian safety forces had acted shortly to cease the assault.