Tunisia: Authorities open investigation into shooting attack at synagogue

Source: africanews

Tunisian authorities opened an investigation on Wednesday into a shooting attack at a synagogue that killed two Jewish pilgrims and three members of the country’s security forces.

The motive of the gunman, whom guards killed before he could enter the building on the island of Djerba, remained unclear.

The island’s historic Ghriba synagogue, thought to be one of the world’s oldest Jewish temples, is a popular pilgrimage destination, but it was unknown if the assailant, a member of the Tunisian National Guard, specifically targeted Jews in Tuesday’s attack.

The death toll from the attack rose to five Wednesday when a guard who was hospitalized in the immediate aftermath died of his wounds, according to a medical official cited by Tunisia’s TAP news agency.

Four other members of Tunisia’s security forces remain hospitalized in Djerba, including one in critical condition.

Israeli and Tunisian authorities and family members identified the civilian victims as cousins: Aviel Haddad, 30, who held dual Tunisian and Israeli citizenship, and Benjamin Haddad, 42, who was French.

Four civilians were also wounded, the Tunisian Interior Ministry said.

The assailant, a guardsman affiliated with the naval center in the island’s port town of Aghir, first killed a colleague with his service weapon before seizing ammunition and heading toward the Ghriba synagogue, the Tunisian Interior ministry said.

When he reached the site, he opened fire on security units stationed at the temple.

The guards fired back, killing him before he reached the entrance, the ministry said.

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