Security forces could be seen outside the Tunis museum on Wednesday. Image credit: AFP
Security forces could be seen outside the National Museum in Tunis on Wednesday. Image credit: AFP

TUNIS – Armed men have killed seven tourists and a Tunisian citizen in an attack on a museum in Tunisia’s capital Tunis, according the Interior Ministry spokesperson, reported Al Jazeera.

“There are eight victims”, including “seven foreigners”, Mohamed Ali Aroui, the ministry spokesperson, said.

“Forces are being deployed. There are two or more attackers and hostages are still being held.”

He added that the assault was carried out by “terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs”.

The Bardo Museum is located adjacent to the museum.

It was evacuated right after the attack and politicians said gunfire could be heard at the scene, according to state TV reports.

Journalist Yasmine Ryan, reporting from Tunis, told Al Jazeera that ambulances are going in and out of the museum area cordoned off by the security forces.

“More than 15 police officers on guard at the entrance of the museum and all roads leading to the area are cordoned off,” she said.

Tweets from hostages

Local reporters said on Twitter that the attackers entered the Bardo Museum through the National Assembly and took several tourists hostage.

Sayida Ounissi, a member of parliament, said the following on Twitter:

“In addition to members of parliament, the minister of justice, some judges, and several high level army offices were at the location,” Ounissi said on Twitter.

“The neighborhood is in the process of being cordoned off; there is one armed man, maybe several on the museum side, there has been exchange of gunfire and probably hostages,” she said, adding that was a great deal of panic at the scene.

Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, who has covered Tunisia extensively, said: “The Tunisian national guard is well-trained for this sort of situations. Presidential security forces are the particularly elite ones.”

Tunisia recently completed its transition to democracy after the 2011 uprising against Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, but security remains a key worry due to the emergence of armed groups.–Al Jazeera

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