IS group claims Tunisia attack

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 21 people at a Tunis museum.

But Tunisian authorities said the two dead gunmen had no clear links to extremists, and analysts said existing militant cells are merely being inspired by the group, rather than establishing its presence across North Africa.

Police announced the arrest of five people described as directly tied to the two gunmen who opened fire on Wednesday at the National Bardo Museum.

Four others said to be supporters of the cell were also arrested in central Tunisia, not far from where a group claiming allegiance to al Qaida’s North African branch has been active.

Tunisians stepped around trails of blood and broken glass outside the museum to rally in solidarity with the 21 victims – most of them foreign tourists from cruise ships – and with the country’s fledgling democracy.

Marchers carried signs saying “No to terrorism” and “Tunisia is bloodied but still standing”.

In claiming responsibility for the attack, IS issued a statement and audio on jihadi websites applauding the dead gunmen as “knights” for their “blessed invasion of one of the dens of infidels and vice in Muslim Tunisia”.

Several well-armed groups in neighbouring and chaotic Libya have already pledged their allegiance to IS based in Iraq and Syria.

But the attack of such magnitude in Tunisia – the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings with a functioning democracy – raised concern about the spread of extremism to the rest of North Africa.

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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