In Brief

British woman confirmed dead in Bardo Museum massacre

Tunisia 'at war' after two Tunisians and 17 tourists killed by 'terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs'

Tunisia's president has said his country is in a "war with terror" following an attack on a museum in the capital Tunis, which killed 19 people, including a British woman.

Two Tunisians, including a police officer, and 17 tourists died in yesterday's attack at the Bardo National Museum, one of Tunisia's most popular tourist attractions. A further 40 people were injured.

The Tunisian health minister confirmed this morning that a British woman was among the dead. The other victims included visitors from Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland and Spain. 

Two gunmen were killed by security forces, who are still searching for accomplices.

Tunisians have been out on the streets of Tunis to protest against the attack, lighting candles outside the museum and waving flags.

In a broadcast on national television, President Beji Caid Essebsi said: "These monstrous minorities do not frighten us. We will resist them until the deepest end without mercy. Democracy will win and it will survive."

The BBC's Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher says the attack is a "huge blow" for Tunisia's government, which "only emerged at the end of a long political transition several months ago".

The incident began around midday, when gunmen stormed the Bardo Museum, sparking a three-hour hostage crisis.

The Tunisian parliament, which was debating anti-terrorism legislation at the time of the attack, was temporarily evacuated.

Karim Ben Sa'a, a tourism manager, said: "This is a black day for Tunisia… We are very sad for these tourists. They visit our country and it is so, so sad to see them die. Our hearts are black."

A spokesman for the interior ministry, Mohamed Ali Aroui, said the attack had been mounted by "two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs". A museum employee told Reuters that the gunmen had "opened fire on the tourists as they were getting off the buses before fleeing into the museum".

The Bardo Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tunisia and is famed for its impeccably preserved Roman mosaics. The museum is set in the grounds of a 19th-century palace, a short tram ride from the centre of the city.

The attack poses an "early and severe challenge" for Essid, who took office as prime minister last month, The Guardian says.

About 3,000 Tunisians are believed to have returned home after going to fight in Syria, triggering concerns that former fighters could carry out attacks at home.

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