Attack at Tunisia Beach Hotel Leaves at Least 37 Dead – The New York Times
TUNIS — At least one gunman disguised as a vacationer attacked a placid seaside resort in Tunisia on Friday, killing at least 37 people at a beachfront hotel before he was shot to death by security forces. It was the second major terrorist attack on the Tunisian tourist industry in a little more than three months.
The audacity of the assailant, armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, suggested a sharp escalation from the relatively low-level political violence that has bedeviled Tunisia since its Arab Spring revolt four years ago.
Government officials and witnesses offered conflicting accounts of the assault, with some saying that two gunmen, who had possibly come ashore in a rubber dinghy, had ambushed tourists at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse, which is popular with German vacationers.
Others said that there was a single gunman but that the police were searching for possible accomplices. There were unconfirmed reports that the violence extended to a second hotel.
Twenty people were wounded in the attack, including five British tourists, who were being treated at a city hospital, Tunisian news media reported. The nationalities of the other victims were not immediately clear.
No group claimed responsibility in the hours after the attack. The Tunisian authorities have struggled to suppress a small but violent Islamist insurgency that has sprung up in the four years since the uprising that forced out the former president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and set off the Arab Spring.
The attack in Sousse, Mr. Ben Ali’s hometown, comes just over three months after two gunmen killed more than 20 people, almost all of them foreign tourists, in a mass shooting at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. The two men had been radicalized in Tunisia and trained in an Islamist militant camp in Libya in the weeks before the attack.
In Sousse, the assailant who was killed wore black shorts and a T-shirt, and his body lay sprawled on the street, his assault rifle beside him. He dressed as a tourist and carried the rifle concealed in an umbrella, said Rafik Chelli, secretary of state for the Interior Ministry. The police identified him as a young Tunisian from the town of Kairouan with no prior police record, Mr. Chelli said.