The US Embassy in the Tunisian capital of Tunis was targeted in a twin suicide attack on Friday, described as the most serious attack on any US diplomatic building in months.
Tunisia’s interior ministry confirmed that two suicide bombers blew themselves up just outside the embassy, killing themselves and wounding five police officers and a civilian.
“Witnesses said a man on a motorbike blew himself up near the diplomatic mission in the Berges du Lac district, causing panic among pedestrians at the site,” Al Jazeera reports of the details.
The street outside the embassy appeared littered with debris and destroyed vehicles in the attack aftermath. However, the attackers didn’t appear to get past the embassy’s external security perimeter.
“We heard a very powerful explosion … we saw the remains of the terrorist lying on the ground after he went on the motorbike towards the police,” a local shopkeeper was cited in Al Jazeera as saying.
— Mogadishu Update (@Magdashi3) March 6, 2020
At least one militant on a motorbike blew himself up outside the US embassy in Tunisia today, wounding police officers, witnesses said, in the country’s most serious attack in months, Reuters reported.
The explosion took place near the embassy’s main gate, where a Reuters journalist saw a scorched, damaged motorbike and a damaged police vehicle lying amid debris as police gathered around and a helicopter whirled overhead. — Middle East Monitor
Since the 2011 Arab Spring swept away Tunisia’s hard line secular regime, Salafists and other Muslim fundamentalists have reportedly been more visible in public life.
The North African Mediterranean country has also witnessed sporadic terror attacks over the past years, including a major one last summer involving ISIS coordinating three blasts in the capital including near the French embassy.
A policeman had been killed in that prior attack last year, which also wounded five others.
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) March 6, 2020
While ISIS and al-Qaeda linked factions have been active over the past years in Tunisia and the region, and have typically been quick to own up to their attacks, there was no immediate claim of responsibility in the early aftermath of Friday’s embassy attack.