Accounts paint picture of lunchtime leisure turning to terror as attackers kill 21 in Tunisia

Around lunchtime, the crackle of gunfire broke the leisurely calm of a stop by at one among Tunisia's best-known museums: Two attackers continued a rampage targeting tourists. By the end, after police traded fire using the gunmen and special forces barreled in, the duo and 21 others were dead.




Tunisia's deadliest terror attack in additional than the usual decade jolted locals beyond their daily routines and took the cherished lives of visitors who constitute a serious breadwinner for the democracy-minded North African country of 11 million, as outlined by accounts from witnesses, victims along with a police official.




Wednesday's attack at Tunis' National Bardo Museum, claimed because of the Islamic State group containing sought to spread its bloodthirsty influence beyond its base in Syria and Iraq, drew immediate condemnation from many world leaders and promises from Tunisian officials and citizens they won't bow to terror.




For Mohamed Ali, an unemployed 42-year-old father of four years old who lives within the Bardo district, the episode upended loved ones stroll on the zoo. Looking in by having a high fence across the museum grounds next to parliament, he saw men pull automatic weapons out of bags and calmly walk inside, opening fire on tourists either inside of a bus or emerging from it.




"There was police on one side with the bus which they beset, plus the terrorists were hiding conversely," he told The Associated Press in the interview within the popular La Gazelle cafe down the street every day following attack. "There is an exchange of fire, and also the gunmen took refuge in the museum."




A police captain, speaking to the AP, recalled how at 12:17 he heard the rat-a-tat of repeated shots and rushed to the museum entrance, in which a woman lay injured within the stone-tile floor and two people were strewn while on an adjacent lawn.




Inside, many museumgoers had minimum spot to hide. Some tucked behind thin columns, or cowered on the floor. One French visitor with a bandaged knee, speaking afterward to France 2 Television, said she'd only survived because a person facing her took a bullet to the head.




The 50-year-old captain, within a police ball cap and three shiny stars on the breastplate of his bulletproof vest, said at least one assailant made his way to the roof. The captain and at least one among his colleagues fired upward to present cover to a cruiser that hurriedly took away a visitor who has been shot inside hip.




On watch again Thursday as hundreds people rallied outside of the museum to denounce and defy terrorism in Tunisia, the officer stepped off to collect himself with a cigarette. His eyes welled up when he looked into helping four injured visitors into emergency vehicles, leaving blood on his hands.




The officer said he couldn't aim his gun mainly because his primary attention was protecting the injured. He declined to offer his name, insisting he was doing his duty and didn't strive to be publicly for this incident.




Police cars and ambulances rushed in, and a helicopter soared overhead. Special forces — with their armoured vehicle crunching two track-like welts in to the floor tiles — were next. Aside from the attackers, the sole other Tunisian killed would have been a special forces officer that this captain said had recently be a father.




By varying accounts, the end in the siege lasted at most 1 hour, and special forces gunned down the attackers inside. Scores of tourists — some parents carting young children — scurried in the steps of any nearby building to adopt shelter.




One Spanish couple, Juan Carlos Sanchez and Cristina Rubio, had holed up in a small room within the museum, where they fled after he spotted a fleeing man, and spent the night there within the undeniable fact that the gunmen may still be around. Rubio, who's pregnant, was uninjured and told Tunisia's health minister at a hospital maternity ward that tests indicated that the lady en route was ok.




Seventeen on the 20 foreigners who had been killed was cruise-ship passengers. Health Ministry officials said Japanese, French, Italian, British, Polish, Spanish, Australian, Polish and Belgian citizens were among the dead, and several remained identified.




It was the deadliest terror attack in Tunisia since an al-Qaida militant explode a truck bomb outside a historic synagogue on the resort island of Djerba in 2002, killing 21 people — mostly German tourists. New Orleans entertainment




Tunis resident Mohamed Aziz Smiri said he saw the evacuation from your museum, and heard police assurances that this situation was in order. He noted that extremists had generally attacked security forces in Tunisia's rural west near Algeria recently.




"Every time they kill Tunisian security forces, and after this tourists," he said. "It's haram (a sin), they came as guests to country. I didn't want that for the kids, it makes me have a pity party, we're sad ... What did they are doing to us?"

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