Tunis museum shooting: Khaled Chaieb, leading suspect in attack, killed in anti-terror operation, says PM

Twenty-one people, mainly foreigners, and two gunmen were killed in the attack,with another woman dying of her injuries over the weekend

One of the main suspects in the Tunis museum attack that left 22 dead has been killed in anti-terrorist operations, Tunisia’s Prime Minister said today, as tens of thousands of people marched through the capital to denounce extremist violence.

Khaled Chaieb, also known as Abou Sakhr Lokman, was one of nine terror suspects killed overnight in an operation near the Algerian border, state news agency TAP cited Prime Minister Habib Essid as saying. Chaieb is believed a prominent Algerian militant in al-Qaeda’s North African arm, and suspected of leading or helping lead the 18 March attack on the National Bardo Museum.

Twenty-one people, mainly foreigners, and two gunmen were killed in the attack. A French woman, named only as Madame Dupeu, became the 22nd victim of the attack after she died of her injuries over the weekend.

The French President François Hollande, the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and several foreign ministers from other countries joined an anti-terrorism ceremony in Tunis after the march. A red-and-white sea of Tunisian flags filled a major boulevard in the capital where thousands had come to rally under the slogan “Le Monde est Bardo” (The World is Bardo).

 

“We have shown we are a democratic people, Tunisians are moderate, and there is no room for terrorists here,” said one of the demonstrators, Kamel Saad. “Today everyone is with us.”

Thousands of police and soldiers had been positioned around the capital since early morning.

One of the most secular countries in the Arab world, Tunisia has mostly avoided violence in the four years since the toppling of autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali. But authorities are struggling with scattered extremist violence linked to various radical Islamic groups, largely linked to neighboring countries Algeria or Libya.

An Interior Ministry spokesman Ali Aroui said yesterday that nine suspected “terrorists” were killed when security forces clashed with the suspects in the southwest region of Sidi Aich, near the Algerian border. AP; Reuters

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