23 suspects arrested over Tunis museum attack: minister
The minister said the operation was organized by an Algerian jihadist named Lokmane Abou Sakhr
Tunisia said Thursday that it had arrested 23 suspects in connection with last week’s jihadist massacre at the country’s national museum.
“Twenty-three suspects including a woman have been arrested as part of a terrorist cell” involved in the attack, Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli told journalists, adding that “80 percent of this cell” had been broken up.
All of those arrested were Tunisians, he said, adding that another Tunisian, two Moroccans and an Algerian suspected of being members of the cell were on the run.
The Tunisian, Maher Ben Mouldi Kaidi, was previously identified as a suspect and is alleged to have provided the automatic weapons to the two gunmen who shot dead 21 people -- including 20 foreign tourists -- at the Bardo Museum in Tunis on March 18.
The minister said the operation was organized by an Algerian jihadist named Lokmane Abou Sakhr, one of the leaders of the al-Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, the main Tunisian armed group active along the border with Algeria.
Responsibility for the attack was claimed however by al-Qaeda’s jihadist rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
“At this stage we cannot name (the group responsible),” Gharsalli said. “What is certain is that there are links with Okba Ibn Nafaa.”
Tunisia’s Bardo museum in symbolic reopening after attacksMuseum officials said the reopening was “a message” to the gunmen who killed 20 foreigners Middle East
Tunisia closes airspace to western Libya for security reasonsThe moves come after militants killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack on the national museum in Tunis last week Middle East
ISIS claims responsibility for Tunisia attackThe attack at the capital’s Bardo museum left 23 people killed, including 20 tourists Middle East
In Tunisia’s tourist heartland, anxious wait after attackJapanese, Spanish, Italian and Colombian tourists were among the victims when at least two gunmen opened fire Features
Even Tunisia is safe no moreThe Arab region, as a whole, has been transformed into an open theater for international superpowers to settle their own private scores Middle East