Saturday 24 August 2019

Islamic State claims responsibility for Tunisia bus attack

A man walks past the bus that exploded in Tunis (AP)
A man walks past the bus that exploded in Tunis (AP)
A hooded police officer at the scene of the bus explosion in the centre of Tunis (AP)

The body of a suspected suicide bomber has been found at the scene of a bus attack in Tunisia, while Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast that killed 13 people.

Tuesday's attack on the bus, which carried Tunisian presidential guards, involved about 10 kilograms of military explosives, the interior ministry said.

Tunisian authorities discovered the body of a 13th person in the bus on Wednesday, believed to be the "terrorist who caused the explosion", the interior ministry said in a statement.

Ministry spokesman Walid Louguini said the body could not be identified by fingerprints because no fingers were found. The ministry said a DNA analysis of the body is under way.

The government declared the blast a terrorist attack and imposed a 30-day nationwide state of emergency, with troops fanned out across the capital.

Islamic State issued a statement online saying a militant it identified as Abu Abdullah al-Tunisi carried out the attack after infiltrating the bus and killing around 20 "apostates".

If Islamic State was indeed behind it, it is the latest of several major attacks in Europe and the Middle East - well beyond the group's base in Syria and Iraq.

The blast on a tree-lined avenue in the heart of Tunis is a new blow to a country that is seen as a democratic model for the region.

It came days after authorities visibly increased security in the capital and deployed security forces in unusually high numbers.

Earlier this year, the country suffered two major attacks by Islamic extremists that targeted tourist sites.

PA Media

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