A third gunman involved in an attack on Tunisia's National Bardo Museum is "on the run," according to President Essebsi. The president said his country was at war with extremists, who killed 21 people in the assault.
In a live interview with French iTele TV from inside the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, President Beji Caid Essebsi confirmed that the deadly attack on March 18 involved a third gunman along with the two who were shot dead by the country's security forces.
The Interior Ministry released security camera footage of the assault on Saturday, showing two armed men walking through a museum hall, and briefly encountering a third person with a backpack.
"For sure there were three because they have been identified and filmed on surveillance cameras," Essebsi said. "There are two who were executed and one who is on the run somewhere. But in any case, he won't get far."
Two Tunisians, believed to have trained in neighboring Libya, where the Sunni militant group "Islamic State" (IS) is thought to have training camps, opened fire in the museum on Wednesday. The assailants targeted tourists and killed 21 people, including a policeman.
Four Italians, three Japanese, three French, two Spaniards, a Colombian, and Australian-Colombian, a British woman, a Belgian woman, three Poles and a Russian were killed in the attack.
On Thursday, IS claimed it was behind the attack.
Essebsi said that Islamists had recruited around 3,000 Tunisian nationals to fight in Syria and Iraq. He said his country was at war with them.
"When war is brought upon us, we will wage war," he said.
On Saturday, prosecutors in Tunisia said more than 10 people had been detained over the museum attack.
"More than 10 people have been arrested for direct or indirect involvement in the attack, among them people who provided logistical support," Interior Minister spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told the media.
Aroui would not be pushed on whether that figure included the nine people already reportedly arrested, including the father, sister and two brothers of one of the gunmen killed by police, Jabeur Khachnaoui.
Aroui also said that an arrest warrant had been issued for a Tunisian national, Maher Ben Mouldi Kaidi, suspected of being involved in the assault.
Tunisia has seen an increase in Islamist extremism since the 2011 revolution that ousted Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and began the Arab Spring.
shs/sb (AP, Reuters, AFP)