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Tunisia, March 18, 2015

Muslim Terrorists Slaughter Tourists At Tunisian Museum

Original source

New York Post

Islamic terrorists armed with assault rifles and grenades gunned down at least 19 people at a crowded museum in the capital of Tunisia on Wednesday, officials said.

The mayhem started around 12:30 p.m. when the militants picked off tourists as they got off a bus outside the Bardo National Museum, killing eight, according to witnesses and officials.

The gunmen then stormed the museum, where they grabbed several hostages and hunkered down for hours, according to the Associated Press. They killed 10 of their victims during that standoff.

Television footage from the attack depicts a chaotic scene as people frantically escape from the building. One man cradling a child can be seen sprinting for shelter in a compound next to the parliament.

The two militants inside the museum were eventually killed in a firefight, along with a security officer, during a counter-operation to retake the building, officials said.

Of the 19 people who died, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said 17 were tourists from Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. The other two victims were from Tunisia, according to BBC.

In addition, 22 others were injured during the assault, officials said.

The Bardo museum had been exceptionally busy Wednesday thanks to a pair of cruise ships that were docked in Tunis at the time. The attack unfolded as many guests were on tour at the museum, according to CNN.

It is unclear exactly how many militants took part in the attack, but initial reports said three men were involved in the strike - and officials now believe one of the bloodthirsty savages could still be out there.

"It is a critical moment in our history, and a defining moment for our future," Essid explained. "We have not established the identity of the two terrorists. Reports are not final, these two terrorists could have been assisted by two or three other operatives."

A manhunt was under way to find any additional militants as authorities "comb the area to find out the remaining operatives, if any," Essid said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told Radio Mosaique that the attackers were Islamists, and witnesses told Radio Mosaique that all three men were wearing military-style clothing and posing as soldiers when they made their assault.

A large police presence was spotted moving in to evacuate any other people remaining inside the parliament building, which is located in Bardo Palace. The TAP state news agency claims that local cops opened fire with one of the terrorists outside, RT reports.

Local TV stations say several of the fatalities occurred during the counter-operation, but this had yet to be confirmed by authorities.

The Bardo museum is one of the North African nation's most popular tourist attractions and chronicles Tunisia's history. It includes one of the world's largest collections of Roman mosaics.

Wednesday's assault there was the worst attack involving foreigners in Tunisia since an al Qaeda suicide bombing of a synagogue left 21 people dead on the popular island of Djerba in 2002, according to Reuters.

While the identity of the attackers could not be verified, Tunisia has struggled with violence sparked by Islamic extremists in recent years. Tunisia's armed forces are currently fighting Islamist militants who emerged in 2011 after the country's uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali.

Bordering Libya, the North African nation has reportedly become a breeding ground for ISIS. Since 2011, officials estimate that around 3,000 Tunisians have traveled to Syria to wage jihad, according to Reuters.

Back in February, Tunisian authorities arrested an estimated 100 people in just three days because they were all suspected of having links to the Islamic State.

A message sent from a pro-ISIS Twitter account just hours before Wednesday's attack possibly hinted the terror group's involvement in the attack on the Bardo museum.

"Coming good news to Tunisia's Muslims," the tweet read, according to the Daily Mail. "And a shock to the disbelievers and the hypocrites, especially those who claim to be cultured.'"

The tweet was posted by the account @riff0BA9 and was retweeted numerous times by other Islamic State sympathizers. The profile and message have since been deleted.