Deadly Shooting Attack at Tunisian Synagogue

A shooting attack outside a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba resulted in the death of a Tunisian security officer who was wounded in the incident, according to hospital sources. The total death toll now stands at six, including the shooter.

The assailant, identified as a National Guard member, initially killed a colleague at a naval installation before proceeding to the synagogue. The incident took place during an annual Jewish pilgrimage, where the attacker opened fire on police officers and visitors. The shooter was subsequently killed by security forces.

Among the casualties were two Jewish cousins, one from France and the other from Israel-Tunisia, as well as a police officer who died at the scene and another who passed away in the hospital the following day. Four additional police officers and four visitors sustained injuries, with one in critical condition, as reported by hospital sources.

Authorities have yet to disclose a motive for the attack or determine if anyone else was involved. This incident, which occurred on a popular tourist destination in Tunisia, marks the deadliest attack in years.

Moez Belhassine, the tourism minister, visited the site and Djerba hotels to provide reassurance regarding security measures. The attack was labeled as a “lethal shooting incident” by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, and investigations are still ongoing. The United States and France commended the swift response of Tunisian security forces.

Witnesses described a scene of panic as gunshots erupted during the pilgrimage, with people attempting to hide in various rooms of the synagogue. Peres Trabelsi, the head of Djerba’s Jewish community, shared accounts of fear and people seeking refuge in offices and other areas.

The attacker arrived at the scene on a quad bike while wearing body armor, according to Rene Trabelsi, Tunisia’s former tourism minister and the organizer of the pilgrimage. The two cousins reportedly tried to hide behind a bus outside the synagogue. Rene Trabelsi, who was present at the synagogue with his family during the shooting, acknowledged the gunfire and its connection to an attack.

The pilgrimage to Africa’s oldest synagogue draws hundreds of Jews from Europe and Israel to Djerba. Due to previous security concerns, the event has implemented strict security measures since a past attack by al-Qaeda militants.