Twenty-three suspected members of Tunisian terror cell are arrested in connection with fatal Bardo museum attack – but three are still on the run 

  • Tunisian interior ministry said they had broken 80 per cent of the terror cell
  • Among those arrested was head of the cell Mohammed Emine Guebli 
  • Added that gunmen also had belts filled with powerful explosive semtex
  • 21 people killed at the National Bardo Museum during attack on March 18

Authorities have today arrested 23 suspected members of a terror cell in connection with a jihadist massacre at Tunisia's national museum which left 21 people dead.

The attack last week targeted the Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis with 20 foreign tourists, including 17 people from a cruise ship gunned down.

Tunisia's interior ministry confirmed the arrests saying that 80 per cent of the terror cell responsible for the attack had been broken up and that the suspects are due to appear in court.

A man lays flowers on the bloodstained entrance to the Bardo Museum in Tunisia. Today 23 suspects have been arrested in connection with the jihadist attack 

A man lays flowers on the bloodstained entrance to the Bardo Museum in Tunisia. Today 23 suspects have been arrested in connection with the jihadist attack 

However, they added that three suspects involved in the attack, who are thought to be Moroccan and Algerian nationals, are still on the run.

Interior minister Najem Gharsalli said: 'Twenty-three suspects including a woman have been arrested as part of a terrorist cell involved in the attack.'

Among those arrested was head of the terror cell, who was identified as Mohammed Emine Guebli.

Mr Gharsalli added how the gunmen attacked the museum wearing belts filled with powerful explosive semtex, which would have been 'catastrophic' if used.

He also detailed that two members of the group arrested had also fought with extremists in Syria, with the three others, including the attackers, training in Libya.

CCTV released earlier this week showed the two gunmen and a third unidentified man roaming around inside the museum before the attack 

CCTV released earlier this week showed the two gunmen and a third unidentified man roaming around inside the museum before the attack 

Today it was revealed how the gunmen attacked the museum wearing belts filled with powerful explosive semtex

Today it was revealed how the gunmen attacked the museum wearing belts filled with powerful explosive semtex

Tunisian national Maher Ben Mouldi Kaidi had been previously identified as a suspect and is alleged to have provided the automatic weapons to the gunmen.

The minister also said the operation was organised by an Algerian jihadist named Lokmane Abou Sakhr, one of the leaders of the Al-Qaeda-linked Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, the main Tunisian armed group active along the border with Algeria.

Earlier this week a video emerged of the moment two gunman began roaming the Bardo Museum looking for victims.

The one-minute video posted on the government's Interior Ministry Facebook page shows the two men scurrying through the Tunis museum, carrying assault rifles and bags.

One of the attackers is wearing a baseball cap and a heavy jacket, while the other wears a red hooded jumper and tracksuit pants.

Tourists and visitors flee from the Bardo Museum following the attack. Twenty foreign tourists, including 17 from a cruise ship were gunned down and killed 

Tourists and visitors flee from the Bardo Museum following the attack. Twenty foreign tourists, including 17 from a cruise ship were gunned down and killed 

At one point, they encounter another man with a backpack walking down a flight of stairs.

They briefly acknowledge each other and let the unidentified man walk free before unleashing the deadly attack in the country's largest museum.

Eight of the foreign tourists were killed as they got off a bus in front of the musuem building while another 12 were killed inside along with a Tunisian policeman.

The attack was the worst on foreigners in Tunisia since an Al-Qaeda suicide bombing of a synagogue killed 21 people on the island of Djerba in 2002.

Authorities are now organising an international march 'against terrorism' in Tunis on Sunday, similar to the one in Paris that followed the attacks earlier this year on the Charlie Hebdo satirical weekly and a kosher supermarket.

French President Francois Hollande is among those who have announced they will attend.

A Tunisian policeman stands guard outside the museum. Authorities are now organising an international march 'against terrorism' in Tunis on Sunday

A Tunisian policeman stands guard outside the museum. Authorities are now organising an international march 'against terrorism' in Tunis on Sunday

In a televised statement on Wednesday, President Beji Caid Essebsi urged a huge turnout.

He said: 'I am calling on all Tunisians young and old... to take part in this march to show Tunisia's strength and its willingness to fight terrorism. '

The attack dealt a heavy blow to Tunisia's vital tourism industry as the country looks to rebuild its economy.

The birthplace of the Arab Spring revolutionary movement, Tunisia has seen an upsurge in Islamic extremism since overthrowing longtime strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

But Tunisia has taken pride in forming a democratic government since the Arab Spring -- in marked contrast to countries such as Egypt and Libya.

 

Tunisia arrests 23 in 'terrorist cell' over Bardo museum attack

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