Timeline Of The Tunisia Shooting Shows How The Bardo Museum Hostage Situation Unfolded
At least 22 people, including 17 tourists and two gunmen, have been killed in the Tunisia shooting. Three men in military attire stormed Tunisia's Bardo Museum on Wednesday and held dozens of people hostage. According to Tunisia's interior minister, security forces entered the museum, located on the parliament grounds in the capital city of Tunis, after a standoff and killed two of the gunmen. Among the dead, reports state, are tourists from Poland, Spain, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as two Tunisians. Another 22 tourists and two Tunisian men were injured.
The identities of the attackers have not been released, and their motives are still unknown, but officials have begun calling it terrorism. Tunisia's interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui described the shooting as a "terrorist attack" targeting the Bardo Museum, carried out by "two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs." Secretary of State John Kerry said that the United States, "condemns in the strongest possible terms today's deadly terrorist attack." French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius issued a statement, saying:
It is not by chance that today's terrorism affects a country that represents hope for the Arab world. The hope for peace, the hope for stability, the hope for democracy. This hope must live.
While more details emerge to shed light on the motivation behind the Tunisia attack, take a look at how it all unfolded.
- Sometime in the morning: Gunfire was heard at Tunisia's parliament building, forcing parliamentary committees to suspend their meetings and evacuate.
- Around noon: Radio station Radio Mosaïque reported that three men in military clothing started the attack outside the Bardo Museum, forcing tourists inside and holding them hostage there. Tunisian security forces respond and surround the museum.
- Around 12:30 p.m.: Reports announce that eight people are dead — seven tourists and one Tunisian.
- Around 12:45 p.m.: Tunisian journalist Med Dhia Hammami reports hearing two grenade explosions, presumably from the attackers, going off at the museum.
- Just after 1 p.m.: Local reports say that a counter-terrorism operation is underway.
- Around 1:15 p.m.: Reports release the nationalities of some of the tourists that have been killed: two Britons, one French, and one Spanish. Radio Mosaïque reports that 10 hostages are still being held inside. Tunisia's Foreign Office issues an advisory warning telling people to avoid the area until further notice.
- Just before 1:30 p.m.: Interior ministry spokesman Aroui tells reporters: A terrorist attack targeting the Bardo Museum [was carried out by] two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs. There are eight victims [including] seven foreigners. The majority of tourists were evacuated. Anti-terrorist units have entered the museum.
- Just before 2 p.m.: Government spokesman Moez Sinaoui tells Agence France-Presse that Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi will make a public statement shortly.
- Around 2:15 p.m.: Reports are saying that the hostage situation is over and that two gunmen have been killed. Reports also announce that two Italians are believed to have been killed in the attack.
- Around 2:30 p.m.: State television station Wataniya 1 reports, "A policeman and two terrorists were killed."
- Around 2:50 p.m.: A French tourist who had been one of the hostages tells French media station iTele: "We are at the Bardo museum and on a guided tour and heard shots outside, several volleys. We thought it was a party, but in fact it wasn’t – there were men on the floor.... We were all inside sitting on the floor in the room. We could hear Allahu Akbar and lots of firing. There are around 40 French tourists with Costa Cruises. People are shooting outside. Earlier there were shots in the museum, now it’s outside. ... We can’t see outside. There is a group of attackers. There have been lots of volleys of gunire [sic]."
- Just after 3 p.m.: The death toll is updated. Some outlets report that at least 19 people have been killed, including 17 foreign tourists, and two gunmen. Other outlets are reporting that one Tunisian policeman has also been killed.
- Around 3:20 p.m.: Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid confirms that Polish, Italian, German, and Spanish tourists were among the hostages killed.
- At 3:30 p.m.: Essid says that authorities are still hunting for two or three other individuals who may have been part of the attack.
- Just after 4 p.m.: NPR correspondent Leila Fade tweets that authorities may have captured a third suspect.
- Around 4:30 p.m.: The Telegraph reports that the attack may have been retribution for killing Ahmed al-Rouissi, a Tunisian ISIS commander who was operating from a newly set-up cell in Libya.
- Around 5 p.m.: The death toll has risen to at least 22 people.
- Around 6:30 p.m.: U.S. Secretary of State Kerry issues his statement condemning the attack.
- Just before 8 p.m.: Tunisian President Essebsi speaks on TV, saying:
I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us. We will fight them without mercy to our last breath.
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