TUNISIA — Terrorists killed at least 37 people in an attack Friday on a beachfront Tunisian hotel, Tunisian officials said, according to the state-run TAP news agency.
Tunisia’s interior minister reported 27 dead — at least some of whom were guests at the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in Sousse, TAP reported.
Still, those figures are preliminary. In fact, an operation was still underway Friday afternoon after Tunisian security forces exchanged gunfire with the attackers.
On its website, Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba is described as an all-inclusive hotel with views of Port El Kantaoui. It contains indoor and outdoor pools, including one for children, as well as buffet-style and theme restaurants.
“This all creates the ideal environment for relaxing holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the city,” the website says.
Attacks in France, Tunisia
The bloodshed comes the same day as at least two deadly terrorist attack in other countries.
One person was beheaded and two injured at a gas factory near Lyon in southeastern France, according to French President Francois Hollande. And ISIS has claimed responsibility for an apparent bomb blast at the Shiite-affiliated Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait’s capital during Friday prayers, leading to a number of death and injuries.
Friday’s beachfront hotel attack is not new for Tunisia, which has been hailed as a success story of the Arab Spring but has not been immune to terrorist violence that’s plagued many around the region, including its neighbor Libya.
It’s also the latest to apparently targeting tourists in the North African, which has attracted visitors for its culture and Mediterranean Sea beaches.
In March, at least 23 people died when gunmen stormed the landmark Bardo Museum in Tunis. In a subsequent audio statement, ISIS identified two men — Abu Zakariya al-Tunisi and Abu Anas al-Tunisi — who it said used “automatic weapons and hand grenades” to kill and injure what it called “crusaders and apostates.”