Police officer killed, others injured in Tunisia

A suicide attack aim at the United States embassy in Tunisia left a police officer dead, and others injured including a civilian.

The ministry of interior, which had reported in the past five officers and one civilian injured, announced in a statement the death of Lieutenant Taoufik Mohammed El Nissaoui in the first such attack to hit the Tunisian capital in eight months.

Around 2019, a double suicide bombing in Tunis claimed by the Islamic State Organization (EI) had highlighted the resilience of extremist groups, although the security situation in the country has improved significantly.

The explosion on Friday sounded at the end of the morning near the American embassy, in the Lake Banks district, about ten kilometres from the city centre, a sector permanently protected by major security roadblocks.

“It’s hard to keep working when you’ve just seen your colleagues injured,” a policeman on the scene reacted.

As the area was being evacuated, a young man in his early 20s was arrested and taken away by the police, the report said, without any clear indication being established at this stage with the attack.

“Two people targeted a security patrol in the street leading to the US embassy,” the interior ministry said in a statement.

“The operation resulted in the death of the two assailants, wounding five police officers and slightly injuring a civilian,” the ministry said, adding that “all security units have been placed on high alert.

In particular, security lines were reinforced in front of the Ministry of the Interior on the main avenue in the centre of Tunis, where traffic was interrupted.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since November 2015, with a suicide attack on the presidential guard in the centre of Tunis in which 12 officers were killed. It had also been claimed by the EI.

After the demolition of the dictatorship in 2011, Tunisia faced a rise of the jihadist movement, responsible for the deaths of dozens of soldiers and policemen, but also many civilians and 59 foreign tourists.

However, attacks against the security forces are still taking place, particularly in the mountainous areas bordering Algeria, and occasionally in Tunis.

In October 2018, a 30-year-old woman set off an improvised explosive device near a police patrol in the city centre, injuring 26 people.