Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Lead museum attack suspect killed

A leading suspect in the deadly museum attack on foreign tourists in Tunisia has been killed in anti-terrorist operations, the country's prime minister says.

Prime Minister Habib Essid said Khaled Chaieb, also known as Abou Sakhr Lokman, was killed overnight in an operation in the Gafsa region near the Algerian border, State news agency TAP reported.

Chaieb is believed a prominent militant in al Qaida's North African arm, and suspected of leading or helping lead the March 18 attack on the National Bardo Museum.

Twenty-two people, mainly foreigners, and two gunmen were killed in the attack.

Tens of thousands of Tunisians have marched through the capital to denounce extremist violence.

French president Francois Hollande, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and several foreign ministers and legislators from other countries are joining an anti-terrorism ceremony in Tunis after the march.

The Tunisian government called on all major political parties to join the march from the seat of government at Bab Es-Saadoun to the museum.

The international visitors are showing solidarity with Tunisia, whose fragile new democracy was deeply shaken by the museum attack, for which Islamic State claimed responsibility.

Tunisian protesters unleashed revolts across the region known as the Arab Spring, and Tunisia is the only country to have built a democratic system as a result.

Authorities are struggling with scattered extremist violence linked to various radical Islamic groups, largely linked to neighbouring countries Algeria or Libya.

Interior ministry spokesman Ali Aroui said that nine suspected "terrorists" were killed when security forces clashed with the suspects in the south-west region of Sidi Aich, near the Algerian border.

He said several extremists were wounded in another clash in the north-west region of Kef as part of security operations around the country ahead of the march.


From Belfast Telegraph