- This double attack occurs in a tense political context.
- On October 29, 2018, an attack similar to that of Thursday occurred on Bourguiba Avenue.
- These three attacks were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) organization.
This double attack testifies to the resilience of certain terrorist groups in Tunisia, despite a general improvement in the security situation.
A policeman was killed and eight others injured in Tunis on Thursday (June 27th) in two different attacks in the city center and in front of a barracks of the National Guard, incidents testifying to the resilience of certain terrorist groups in Tunisia despite a general improvement of the security situation.
The first attack, which left five wounded, was perpetrated by a suicide bomber who blew himself up in front of a municipal police car. According to witnesses present on the spot, the attack took place at the arcades of Charles-de-Gaulle avenue towards medina entry. “I saw dispersed body parts,” says a woman in shock. Another witness reports that he saw the “police car raised” by the blast of the explosion.
In the minutes that followed, anti-terrorist units, their faces concealed by hoods, made their appearance, blocking access to various streets of this busy downtown. In the midst of screaming sirens, many policemen checked the identity of passers-by pretending they had the appearance of foreign nationals. Meanwhile, another vehicle exploded in the anti-terrorist direction of the El Gorjani barracks in Tunis, injuring four policemen.
“We have dismantled many dormant terrorist cells in recent weeks,” said government information officer Yousef Chahed, who reported a “dismantling” operation on Thursday morning in the Gafsa region (west-central ).
This double attack occurs in a tense political context, while Tunisians are called to vote in the fall for a double poll, legislative and presidential. On the agenda is adoption of a new electoral law aimed at eliminating “outsider” candidates.
Shortly after this double attack, the 92-year-old President of the Republic, Beji Caid Essebsi, was hospitalized for a “serious health crisis.” One of his advisers said the president’s state of health was “critical,” but “stable,” denying rumors of his death.
2015 black year
On October 29, 2018, an attack similar to that of Thursday occurred on Bourguiba Avenue. A suicide bomber blew herself up near a police vehicle, injuring 20 people, including 15 law enforcement officers and five civilians.
These two series of attacks occur when Tunisia recovered some security after the dark year of 2015. It had seen the attack against the Bardo Museum on March 18 (twenty -two deaths, including twenty-one tourists and a policeman), the assault on the seaside resort of Port El-Kantaoui near Sousse on June 26 (thirty-eight foreign tourists killed) and the suicide presidential guard bus attack in the capital on November 24 (twelve policemen killed).
These three attacks were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) organization. Just as the IS had claimed the attack of 7 March 2016 against Ben Gardane, a border town with Libya, after very violent fighting, twelve members of the police and seven civilians died. Forty-six Jihadist attackers also died.
Since then, the terrorist threat o Tunisian population ceased as the security forces continued their work of dismantling the “dormant cells.” The external perception of Tunisia had improved significantly as illustrated by a resumption of tourist attendance in the last two years.