17.43 Tunisians wave the national flag as they protest outside the National Bardo Museum in Tunis
Nick Squires at the protest. "We are here to say we are against violence and terrorism. We are shocked", a young Tunisian woman says at the demo outside Bardo Museum.
16.38 "The terrorists are animals and the government should strip them of their citizenship,' a woman tells Nick Squires at the Tunis protest outside Bardo Museum".
16.16 A woman holds a Tunisian national flag as she takes part in a demonstration in front of the National Bardo Museum in Tunis
Nick Squires is at the protest at the museum.
16.08 More details of the Islamic State claims that "two knights from the Islamic State... heavily armed with automatic weapons and grenades, targeted the Bardo Museum."
It threatened more attacks, saying: "What you have seen is only the start."
16.00 The European Council pays tribute to the victims of the attack with a minute silence.
15.54 MSC Cruises say the last missing MSC Splendida guests accounted for.
MSC Cruises sadly confirms that, based on the information now available, 12 MSC Cruises guests were killed in yesterday’s tragic terrorist attack in Tunis (nationalities: two Colombians, three French, three Japanese, two Spanish, one British and one Belgian).
13 MSC Cruises guests are confirmed as injured (nationalities: one Belgian, seven French, four Japanese and one South African), of which two are in serious conditions.
The last two missing guests, Spanish couple Cristina Rubio Benlloch and Juan Carlos Sanchez Oltra, were found safe and sound after a night in hiding at the Bardo National Museum, Cristina, who is pregnant, was immediately taken into hospital for observation. Both her and the child are reported well.
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, today met injured guests and their families to ensure that they are receiving all the necessary assistance. He has also met the Salma Elloumi Rekik, the Tunisian tourism minister. At the meeting, the minister confirmed that, in conjunction with yesterday’s tragic events, a total of 20 people died, seven of whom have yet to be identified."
15.22 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in an online audio recording, the Reuters news agency reported.
The recording praised the two attackers, described as "knights of the Islamic State" and who were armed with machine guns and bombs.
15.07 David Rubio,
the father of the pregnant Spanish woman who hid in the Tunis museum overnight, has talked to EFE news agency.
They were shut inside a cleaners’ room for almost 24 hours, hearing Arab voices and not knowing whether they were terrorists or the police, until a policeman opened the door and they came out. That was at about 10.30am.
David Rubio, the father of the four-month-pregnant Cristina Rubio, said the couple had been enjoying a honeymoon cruise after getting married on 8 March.
The hostage’s father said that Cristina had phoned him minutes after being found, saying with a trembling voice that she and her husband Juan Carlos Sánchez “had really had a terrible time; they thought they were going to die".
The couple were taken to a hospital in Tunis, where the mother-to-be was give a check-up.
14.16 Tunisians are understandably worried that the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis could devastate the tourism sector, writes
Nick Squires in Tunis.
Tunisians want to convince tourists around the world that the country is still safe to visit.
“We want people to understand that terrorist attacks happen all over the world – in Paris, in other parts of Europe, everywhere. It's not just Tunisia," Mariam Meddeb, from the National Tourism Authority, told The Telegraph. "This was an isolated incident.”
Ali Zouawi is a taxi driver for 40 years has relied on tourists for his livelihood. He blamed the influence of Islamist extremists from abroad for fomenting the attacks on the Bardo Museum.
“There are people from Qatar, Algeria, Pakistan and other countries who are trying to take advantage of Tunisians. The vast majority of Tunisian people are against this. The attackers took advantage of the cruise ships being in Tunis. They knew we were expecting a large number of tourists. Next month 28 ships are due to docks at La Galette – but after this attack, how many will come now?”
13.50 Further images of British victim
Sally Adey have emerged, including one of her with husband Robert - who is understood to be in Tunis:
13.20 Costa Cruises has put out a statement confirming three of its passengers aboard the
Costa Fascinosa are among the victims:
With great sadness we regret to report that 3 passengers of the Costa Fascinosa are amongst the victims of this barbaric and horrific terror attack in Tunis, and a further 8 guests are injured. In addition 2 remain unaccounted for. We strongly condemn the attack on democratic Tunisia. Our deepest sympathy and our condolences go to the victims and their families. We share their sorrow.
Our team in Tunis is currently taking care of the companions of the victims and the 8 guests who are being treated in hospitals. A further Costa management team is supporting our crew and our guests on board. In the meantime, Costa Fascinosa has left Tunisia and is currently at sea.
We are in constant contact with the Italian Government and the security authorities of Tunisia as well as of other countries. We would like to thank the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and his structure for their co-operation"
13.03 Nine people have been arrested over the Tunis museum attack, the president's office said - four people "directly linked to the [terrorist] operation" and five "suspected of having ties to the cell".
12.56 Victoria Ward has more details on
Sally Adey, the British victim of yesterday's terror attack:
A British woman killed in the terror attack in Tunisia was a retired solicitor who was on a dream holiday with her husband.
Sally Adey, 57, and her husband Robert, 52, were passengers on the MSC Splendido cruise ship, which arrived at La Goulette, Tunis, on Wednesday morning ahead of a visit to the Bardo museum, the scene of a brutal massacre that left 18 tourists dead.
The couple, who married in 1984, have a daughter, Molly, 23, and a son, Harry, 20.
They lived in a large detached house in the remote hamlet of Caynton, near Shifnal.
12.51 The first pictures of British victim
Sally Adey have emerged:
12.42 The Prime Minister has said in an interview that his "heart goes out" to the family of the British victim.
He said that democratic countries must defend the "things that we hold dear" such as freedom and rule of law in the face of extremists and terrorists.
Here is the full transcript:
Q: Prime Minister, what is your response to the murder of a British woman in Tunisia?
A: Well, these terrorist attacks yesterday in Tunisia were an appalling and brutal outrage. I can confirm that one of those killed was a British citizen and our heart goes out to her family and we’ll do everything we can to help with the consular assistance and to help the family at this very difficult time.
We need to be absolutely clear about what we face.
This is the latest example of extremist terror and we have to fight it with everything we have. Whether that is taking the poison out of young minds here in Britain; whether it’s working with intelligence, policing and security services in other countries around the world; or whether it is dealing decisively with those areas of the world from which these problems come.
In the end our values: freedom of speech, democracy, the rule of law, they will win through and we must show the persistence and the consistency to make sure they do but I am confident they will.
Q: There must be concern that Tunisia was the one state that was the shining light of the Arab spring and yet we hear recently that it is sending more fighters to fight for Isil and now we have this event.
A: Well, of course, the extremists, the terrorists, they hate democracy. They hate the idea that people should be able to choose their own government. But we mustn’t let democracy, freedom, the rule of law, the things that we hold dear and people in Tunisia hold dear, we must not let them be defeated or undermined by these extremists and terrorists.
That is the battle we are engaged in but I’m confident if we stick to our values, we will win through.
12.30 Tunisian forces have arrested four people in direct connection with the museum attack, the Tunisia's president's office has said.
It also announced that Tunisia's army will be deployed to protect major cities to increase security. It said:
"After a meeting with the armed forces, the president has decided large cities will be secured by the army,"
12.16 Nick Squires, in Tunis for the Telegraph, has been to the site of yesterday's shooting - the Bardo museum - where a heavy police presence remains in place:
12.12 MSC Cruises has confirmed that Sally Jane Adey, the dead British woman, was the missing passenger on board the Splendida cruise ship.
Mrs Adey, 58, was travelling with her husband, who in now in Tunis with the company's customer service team.
There were 79 UK passengers and 10 Irish passengers on the ship, who are all accounted for.
The company said:
MSC Cruises can confirm that British passenger, Sally Adey, was tragically killed in yesterday’s terrorist atrocity in Tunis.
Her husband is receiving support from the MSC Cruises customer care team in Tunis and we will be offering all possible support to him and his family.
At this tragic time, the entire MSC Cruises family wishes to extend its most sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who were affected by this tragic event and are suffering as a result, in particular to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as the injured ones."
MSC Cruises also said on Thursday it was suspending stopovers in the Tunisian capital following the deadly attack.
The firm said three other ships were due to stop in Tunis, but have been diverted to other areas after Wednesday's attack, in which at least 20 foreign tourists were killed according to the country's health minister.
11.59 A French tourist has recounted smearing the blood of victims of the Tunis attacks to avoid being slaughtered herself as the gunmen rushed in.
Henry Samuel reports from Paris:
Maryline, from Paris told France Info:
"In a fraction of a second, a terrorist appeared in the corridor leading to our room. He came from nowhere shooting in all directions. It all took place very quickly. Very soon people were on the ground. I saw the terrorist opposite me, I had the time to see him arrive. So I was able to crawl on all fours to join a group of people sheltering behind a pillar. But in fact, we had nothing to protect ourselves as there were no walls, nothing.
The only thing that saved me was I was with lots of people all squashed together with our heads down. During that time, the terrorist showered us with bullets. In hindsight, what saved me was that the person in front of me was hit right in the head. There was a great hole in his head. I felt his body slip onto mine. I understood that it was probably thanks to this person that I'm still alive.
It's a miracle. All I got was a bullet that went in and out above the knee with no serious injuries while lots of people around me were in a bad way. I was very lucky, as it happened in several stages. I saw a second terrorist also shoot in all directions. The time it took him to cross the hall there was a lull in which I tried to join my friend who had managed to shelter in an alcove with a wall to protect him. I just had time to crawl over there. We shut the doors so we couldn't be seen.
We were all crammed together on top of each other and there were lots of wounded. My friend had two people on top of him who were seriously injured and losing a lot of blood. So what we did, as we were scared the terrorists would come back, was to smear victims' blood over our bodies - we were injured but only lightly. As we were still alive, we thought it would be best to play dead and smear blood all over ourselves in case they returned."
French survivor "Maryline"
11.51 The two confirmed Spanish victims of the museum massacre are Antoni Cirera Pérez, 75, and Dolors Sánchez Rami, 73, a retired couple who travelled to Tunis on board the MSC Splendida.
11.38 James Badcock in Madrid reports on the two Spanish tourists who hid in the museum all of last night to escape the terrorists:
Two Spanish tourists who had been missing since Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Tunis have been found safe and well, according to the Spanish government. Diplomatic sources told El País newspaper that the two survivors are a couple from the Valencia region. The woman has been taken to a hospital for a check-up as she is pregnant.
Earlier on Thursday, the company the couple had travelled with, MSC Cruises, said the pair had been found in the Bardo museum, where they has spent the entire night hiding. They had not even dared to use their mobile phones for fear of attracting the attention of the terrorists.
The Spanish Embassy in Tunis had been coordinating a search for the couple after they did not return to their cruise ship on Wednesday evening. But there was no sign of them in the city’s hotels or hospitals. In the end, MSC employees went to the museum and found the couple in their hideout.
11.32 David Cameron has vowed "not to let terrorists undermine democracy", and to help the family of the British victim, Sally Adey.
We will do everything we can to help the family of the British woman murdered in Tunisia. We will not let terrorists undermine democracy.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) March 19, 2015
11.28 Also among the dead was Javier Camelo, 28, a Colombian-Australian national who lived in London for a year in 2013, and his mother, Miriam Martinez Camelo.
11.23 More details on the two Spanish tourists who have been found alive this morning after spending the night hiding inside the Tunis museum.
A museum employee hid the two Spaniards in an office during the four-hour rampage by gunmen in military uniform, in which 17 other foreign tourists and two Tunisians were killed.
All three were taken to hospital on Thursday for medical checks after their ordeal, a civil protection official told AFP outside the museum.
The woman is believed to be four months pregnant.
11.14 The dead British woman has been named as
Sally Adey by the Foreign Office.
11.05 Twenty-three people were killed in yesterday's attack, including the two dead gunmen, Tunisian officials have said.
These included 18 foreign tourists - one of whom was a British woman.
Seven of the dead have not yet been identified.
Two Spanish tourists survived the attack after hiding out in the museum all night, said Spain's foreign minister.
Authorities are searching for two or three other possible accomplices.
11.01 Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, has now confirmed that a British woman was killed in yesterday's terrorist attack in Tunisia:
Sadly, I can confirm the death of a British woman in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Tunisia. Consular staff are providing assistance to her family. My thoughts are with them at this very difficult time.
The Tunisian people are rightly proud of their democratic transition. Cowardly attacks, such as the one we saw yesterday, must not be allowed to undermine what they have achieved. I spoke to Prime Minister Habib Essid yesterday to offer my condolences to all those affected by this despicable act and to assure him we stand together against terrorism.
10.59 Tunisian officials say there were no British wounded from the incident - beyond the woman who was killed - suggesting the other Briton "caught up" in the attack according to last night's Foreign Office statement escaped safely.
A Tunisian woman holds a placard reading in French "Tunisia will remain standing" as she takes part in a protest a few hours after the attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis (AFP/GETTY)
10.39 One British woman was killed in the attack, Tunisian authorities have confirmed.
Nick Squires reports from Tunis:
At a press conference in Tunis health ministry officials said that one of the dead of the museum attack was a British woman.
They have not yet identifed her. They confirmed that amongst the other casualties there were three Japanese, one Australian, one Colombian, one French, one Belgian, one Polish.
The number of foreign tourists killed in Wednesday's attack on the national museum in Tunisia has risen to 20 from 17 dead, Tunisia's health minister said on Thursday.
Three Tunisians also died in the attack.
Two gunmen opened fire on the Bardo museum in Tunis on Wednesday, killing tourists from Spain, Poland, Japan and Colombia, among other nationalities, in the worst attack in more than a decade in the North African country.
10.34 Henry Samuel in Paris reports on the French reaction to the terrorist attack in its former colony:
Tunisian authorities say that between 3,000 and 4,000 Tunisians are currently fighting alongside extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. Around 500 have returned to Tunisia.
Le Figaro, Sayda Ounissi, an Ennahda MP, was sitting on a parliamentary committee next door when the attack occured. She said:
Members of the army's Chief of Staff were precisely in the process of telling us about the gaps in the security system, notably due to a lack of means. Then were told that shots were being fired and we had to evacuate."
The fear is to see the fragile coalition government shatter, she said. Ms Ounissis rejected claims that Ennahda allowed radical Islamists to prosper while it was in power fom 2011 to 2014.
These are illegitimate accusations. We are the ones who singled out Salafist organisations as terrorists and pursued them. This attack proves that the problem is structural."
Libération editorial, Kamel Daoud, writes whether Algiers or Cairo like it or not:
Tunis is the true heart of the so-called 'Arab' world. So the jihadists struck at the heart yesterday, namely by attacking a cultural centre (these museums that Isil is reducing to rubble), killing tourists (souce of the Tunisian economy) next to parliament (the place of fragile democracy) where more efficient anti-terror laws were due to be passed."
The risk after the attacks, he warned, was the "Ben Alisation" of Tunisia's security forces, which were widely hated under the country's former dictator.
Le Parisien, Mansouria Mokhefi, special Middle East advisor at the French institute of international relations, Ifri, warned: "The Tunisian army is not up to facing the jihadist threat. They do not offer sufficient guarantees. They are not sufficiently well trained."
In the South of the country, it is the Algerian military that keeps watch over the border in its place and represses islamists. Tunisia is not ready to face them and that's the main problem."
10.20 The MSC Splendida cruise ship left Tunis for Barcelona at 7.00am today with
one British passenger unaccounted for, the company has said in a statement:
Based on the communication made by officials authorities, MSC Cruises, its ownership and entire management team report with profound sadness that at the time of this announcement nine of its guests are reported to have lost their lives, 12 were injured, and six (two Spanish nationals, one Belgian, one British, one French and one Japanese) are still unaccounted for in conjunction with the tragic event at the Bardo Museum. However, these numbers are still subject to modification whilst official identification is on-going.
10.10 In a bizarre coincidence, it turns out the pianist on board the Costa Fascinosa - one of the cruise ships in Tunis from which tourists were caught up in the attack - was also on board the Costa Concordia when it capsized in Jan 2012 off Giglio.
Antonello Tonno is the pianist on board the Costa Fascinosa, although he did not disembark in Tunis and was on board the ship when the attack at the Bardo Museum happened. He told Italian media:
Mine is a tragic destiny - to be called by journalists once again about a drama that I have been involved in.
He said he first became aware of the attack when he received a text message from his wife, as he was on the outskirts of Tunis.
I'm reliving the same powerful emotions that I went through during the sinking of the Concordia.
As soon as I received the text message I went back on board the ship. There was a great deal of apprehension, with passengers glued to their mobiles trying to get information
The Costa Fascinosa left Tunis at 0200 local time this morning, as scheduled. But it left without 13 passengers who were caught up in the attack. Between three and four Italians were killed in the terrorist assault and around a dozen injured.
09.07 A British tourist is among 12 passengers on the MSC Splendida cruise ship unaccounted for in the Tunis museum attack, and has yet to return to the ship, MSC has said in a statement.
Of the 12 Splendida passengers believed injured in the attack, six have yet to return to the ship, including two tourists from Spain and one each from Belgium, Britain, France and Japan, the company said.
Nine of the tourists killed at the Tunisian museum on Wednesday were also passengers on the MSC Splendida cruise ship, the tour company said on Thursday.
Here is the full Foreign Office statement regarding the two Britons "caught up" in yesterday's attack:
We can confirm that two British nationals were caught up in the shootings in Tunis on Wednesday and that we are providing consular assistance. We are working with the Tunisian authorities as well as with contacts in the tourist industry to establish if any further British nationals have been affected. Through our travel advice, we are urging people to exercise caution and follow the instructions of the local authorities.
08.44 The Tunisian press have published more detalis about the alleged gunmen - Jabeur Khachnaoui, from the city of Kasserine, and Yassine Laabidi, from a place called Ibn Khaldoun.
Khachnaoui reportedly disappeared from Tunisia three months ago and called his parents from Iraq.
08.30 Tunisians took to the streets of their capital last night to denounce the terrorist attacks on a museum which left 19 innocent people dead and around 40 wounded, reports
Nick Squires from Tunis.
Large crowds gathered in the centre of Tunis, waving flags, singing the national anthem and shouting slogans against the gunmen who launched the daylight attack on the Bardo Museum, famous for its collections of ancient Roman mosaics and other antiquities.
People also lit candles outside the museum in memory of the 17 tourists and two Tunisians who were shot dead by at least two gunmen.
The hashtags #JeSuisBardo and #JeSuisTunisien were trending on Twitter, as people around the world expressed their solidarity with the latest country to suffer a murderous attack by Islamist extremists.
They were an echo of the #JeSuisCharlie phenomenon that arose after the terrorist attacks on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January.
Some Twitter uses posted photos of themselves holding up signs saying “I will come to Tunisia this summer”, amid fears that the terrorist attack could cripple the country’s tourism industry.
Tunisians light candles at the entrance gate of the National Bardo Museum (AP)
07.30 One of the two gunmen who killed 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians at the Bardo museum was known to intelligence services, Tunisia's prime minister has said.
But no formal links to a particular terror group have been established.
In an interview with RTL radio on Thursday, Habib Essi said Tunisia is working with other countries to learn more about the attackers, identified as Yassine Laabidi and Hatem Khachnaoui. He said Laabidi had been flagged to intelligence, although not for "anything special."
The assailants are "probably" Tunisian, according to the interior ministry spokesman.
Meanwhile, two of the cruise ships with passengers among the victims left the port of Tunis. MSC Cruises said nine passengers from the Splendida were killed, 12 injured and six unaccounted-for. Another ship, the Costa Fascinosa, said 13 passengers had not returned on board when the ship left port overnight.
People being held hostage by gunmen in the Bardo museum, Tunisia (Twitter)
04.35 Three Japanese tourists are among the victims of the massacre, according to Shinzo Abe, the country's Prime Minister. ""No matter what the reasons were, terrorism can never be forgiven. We strongly condemn this,"
Michelle Obama, the First Lady, has offered condolences on behalf of herself and her husband to Tunisia. Japanese tourists were among those who were victims of the attackers.
I want to join in with the others to express our condolences over the horrific event yesterday in Tunisia," she told the audience.
"Our hearts go out to the loved ones of those who were lost here in Japan and around the world. They are very much in our thoughts and prayers today.
00.50 The Foreign Office has said that
two Britons were caught up in the shooting. However, despite reports that two Britons had been killed, a spokesman declined to confirm they were among the fatalities.
"We can confirm that two British nationals were caught up in the shootings in Tunis on Wednesday and that we are providing consular assistance.
"We are working with the Tunisian authorities as well as with contacts in the tourist industry to establish if any further British nationals have been affected.
"Through our travel advice, we are urging people to exercise caution and follow the instructions of the local authorities."
23.47 More strong words from
Beji Caid Essebsi, the Tunisian president. "Democracy will win and it will survive. It is a critical moment in our history and a defining moment in our future."
21.47 Josep Lluis Cusido, the mayor of the Spanish town of Vallmoll, told AP he saw people being gunned down on the plaza outside the museum before the gunmen moved inside.
"After they entered the museum. I saw their faces: They were about 10 metres away from me, shooting at anything that moved," Mr Cusido told Spain's Cadena Ser radio station.
"I managed to hide behind a pillar, there were unlucky people who they killed right there," he said, adding that he and his wife spent nearly three hours in the museum until they got out uninjured.
21.15 The Telegraph's Nick Squires is in Tunis and has spoken to victims in hospital following the attack.
Many Italians were caught up in the attack, having arrived in Tunis by cruise ship on Wednesday morning,
Nick Squires writes.
They were travelling on board two big cruise liners, the Costa Fascinosa and the MSC Splendida. They were only supposed to be in Tunis for a few hours, including a visit to the Bardo Museum, before returning to the ships for the next leg of their cruises.
20.44 The Tunisian press say one of the gunmen reportedly disappeared from Tunisia three months ago and called his parents from Iraq.
Meanwhile, we have this report Colin Freeman and Nick Squires in Tunis:
>Islamic State >massacre of 20 foreign tourists at Tunisia’s national museum >Libya
>Islamic Statemilitants were blamed on Wednesday night for a
>massacre of 20 foreign tourists at Tunisia’s national museum, in what was feared to be revenge for the killing of a leader of the terror group in neighbouring
Speculation in the Tunisian media pointed to the involvement of militants loyal to Rouissi, who was nicknamed Tunisia’s “black box of terrorism” after security forces found a laptop belonging to him that gave details of his group’s strategies. Prior to joining Isil, the 48-year-old is said to have been behind a string of bombings in Tunisia and also the assassinations in 2013 of two left-wing politicians, Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi.
He was reported to have been killed on Saturday in the Libyan city of Sirte, where Isil has established a foothold. His forces were said to have been in combat with fighters from Libya Dawn, a coalition of more moderate Islamists based in the city of Misurata, who are anxious not to let Isil become a rival for power.
20.13 There are images and comments shared on Twitter of a protest against terrorism in downtown Tunis.
20.08 One of the victims of the attack at the Bardo Museum described her ordeal,
Nick Squires in Tunis reports.
Edwigo Olesveski, 64, from Poland, was visiting the museum, famed for its Roman mosaics, when the gunmen opened fire.
She believes she fainted from the shock of hearing the gunfire. She was then shot in the elbow as the gunmen sprayed bullets indiscriminately.
Speaking from her bed in the Charles Nicolle hospital in Tunis, she said: “I was leaving the museum with my tour group when I heard machine gun fire and fainted.”
Her husband was shot in the leg.
They and 14 other injured tourists are being treated for gunshot wounds tonight at the hospital.
There were Poles, Japanese, German, French and Italian.
19.52 Beji Caid Essebsi, the Tunisian president, has been speaking on TV and said there would be no mercy for terrorists.
I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us," he said in brief remarks on television.
"We will fight them without mercy to our last breath."
Meanwhile in Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the country's foreign minister, gave a press conference in Valencia to confirm the deaths of two Spanish citizens, during Tunisia's terrorist attack, earlier in the day
19.31 Before Wednesday’s raid on the Bardo museum in Tunis, the country’s tourist industry had been making a remarkable comeback, writes
Natalie Paris, Telegraph's Travel News Editor.
After a dip immediately following the Arab Spring, which began with a wave of protests in Tunisia in December 2010, 408,655 British nationals visited the country in 2013 and 424,707 did so last year.
In the run-up to Easter, as trouble continued to flare in Egypt, bookings for 2015 were looking healthy, too.
Following Wednesday’s attack, British tourists were warned by the Foreign Office to avoid visiting the area around the Bardo museum “until further notice”and tour operators were cancelling excursions due to run to the capital in the next few days as a precaution.
Members of the Tunisian security services take up a position outside the National Bardo Museum
Abta, the association of British travel agents, said there are around 6,500 Britons in Tunisia at the moment.
18.39 There are quite a few Polish people caught up in attack on the museum, reports
Matthew Day in Warsaw.
Marcin Wojciechowski, foreign ministry spokesman, said 11 Poles are injured and there are fatalities.
Poland is dispatching an emergency team with doctors and psychologists.
18.29 The United States on Wednesday denounced the attack and vowed to stand with the Tunisian people.
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today's deadly terrorist attack at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis," John Kerry, US secretary of state, said in a statement.
Extending America's sympathies to the victims and their families, Mr Kerry said Washington "stands with the Tunisian people at this difficult time and continues to support the Tunisian government's efforts to advance a secure, prosperous, and democratic Tunisia."
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' Bardo Museum (AFP/Getty Images)
18.01 UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon "condemns in the strongest terms today's attack" against the Bardo museum and "conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this deplorable act," said Farhan Haq, his deputy spokesman.
The secretary general also "expresses his solidarity with the Tunisian people and the Tunisian authorities," the spokesman said, reported
17.26 An official at the Italian foreign ministry in Rome said two Italians had been wounded in the attack,
About another 100 Italians were in the area and had been taken to safety by Tunisian police, authorities added.
17.07 According to AP, Tunisian state television says the death toll in an attack on a prominent museum has risen to 22, including several foreign tourists and two gunmen.
Authorities say assailants opened fire on the National Bordo Museum on Wednesday, killing tourists and a cleaning woman and wounding several others. Security forces later stormed the museum, killing two gunmen and a security officer. At least two or three other accomplices may be at large.
Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisian president, (R) meets Habib Essid, Tunisian prime minister during a security cabinet meeting after the attack
16.27 It is now being speculated in Tunisia that the attacks may have been carried out in revenge for the killing of Ahmed al-Rouissi, a Tunisian leader of a new Islamic State cell set up in neighbouring Libya last year, reports
Colin Freeman, Telegraph's Chief Foreign Correspondent.
Mr Rouissi was killed during fighting at the weekend with militiamen loyal to Libya Dawn, a more moderate Islamist faction that currently has control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
The 48-year-old was considered the mastermind of a string of attacks carried out in Tunisia by the radical Ansar al-Shariah movement, including the 2013 assassinations of Left-wing politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi.
If he already had an existing terror network in place in Tunisia, that could explain why the attack on the museum could be carried within just days of his death.
16.09 A third gunman may have been captured by Tunisian police, according to NPR's Cairo bureau chief
Stand off at bardo museum over. Police killed two of the gunmen and captured one. #Bardoattack— Leila Fadel (@LeilaFadel) March 18, 2015
15.45 A prominent Isil supporter has claimed on Twitter that today's attack is the start of a wave of terrorism in Tunisia, according to Quilliam's
It is not yet clear whether Islamic State jihadists were involved in the attack.
PT: of course, this is not to be taken as official IS claim for responsibility.— Charlie Winter (@charliewinter) March 18, 2015
15.30 Although two gunmen have been killed, security forces are still hunting for two or three individuals believed to have been involved in the attack, said Habib Essid, Tunisia's prime minister.
However, state TV reported that the incident is over.
Members of the Tunisian security services take up positions after gunmen reportedly took hostages near the country's parliament (AFP/GETTY)
15.21 Polish, Italian, German and Spanish tourists are among those dead in the attack, said Habib Essid, Tunisia's prime minister.
He did not confirm or deny earlier local reports that two Britons were among the dead.
15.08 The tourists were killed when gunmen opened fire on them as they disembarked from buses outside Tunisia's national museum, witnesses and officials have said.
The gunmen then took others hostage inside the building.
Members of the Tunisian police force take up a position near the country's parliament after gunmen reportedly took hostages (EPA)
15.05 The death toll from the terror attack has gone up, although the precise number of fatalities remains unclear.
Nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, have been killed in the attack, according to Tunisia's prime minister.
However, the country's interior minister has said 15 tourists were killed.
In addition, "a policeman and two terrorists were killed," Wataniya 1 television reported.
A police source confirmed the death of the policeman to AFP.
15.00 According to Le Point, this is the first time that civilians have been directly targeted by an armed group in Tunisia. Until now, terrorists have targeted security forces or politicians.
Since 2011, 57 members of the Tunisian security forces have been killed in clashes with armed groups, and 171 wounded.
Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said: "We are by the Tunisian government's side. He added: "This terrorist attack...cruelly illustrates the threats confronting us in Europe, in the Mediterranean and in the world."
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' Bardo Museum (AFP/GETTY)
14.54 According to Tunisian state TV, some 150 Tunisian police took part in the operation to kill two assailants and free the hostages, reports
In a brief telephone conversation with his Tunisian counterpart, Béji Caïd Essebsi, François Hollande, the French president, expressed "France's solidarity with him and the Tunisian people at this very grave time."
14.51 Henry Samuel brings up this from French media. Géraldine, a French tourist holed up at the museum, told iTele: “We are at the Bardo museum and on a guided tour and heard shots outside, several volleys. We thought it was a party, but in fact it wasn’t – there were men on the floor. Then there was a movement of panic as there are lots of people in the building. There are around 40 of us holed up in a room. We are rather panic-stricken, there was lots of noise.
"Then there were no gunshots outside, then we heard of things outside. We were all inside sitting on the floor in the room. We could hear Allahu Akbar and lots of firing. There are around 40 French tourists with Costa Cruises. People are shooting outside. Earlier there were shots in the museum, now it’s outside.
"We can’t see outside. There is a group of attackers. There have been lots of volleys of gunire. I would say there are a lot of them or else I am mistaken because I don’t know about this kind of thing.”
My take on the Tunisia attacks: carnage comes to the one nation that enjoyed a successful 'Arab Spring' http://t.co/urWn1rPCRZ— colin freeman (@colinfreeman99) March 18, 2015
14.33 Two gunmen who attacked a museum in the Tunisian capital have been killed as well as a policeman, state television said, without specifying if the incident was over.
"A policeman and two terrorists were killed," Wataniya 1 television reported. A police source confirmed the death of the policeman to AFP.
14.27 AFP say two gunmen and a policeman have been killed, according to reports
14.15 Reports are now emerging that the hostage seige is over, and that the gunmen have been killed.
BREAKING: #Tunisia state television cites MoI as saying kidnappers in Bardo terror attack dead, operation over— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) March 18, 2015
Two Italian hostages are believed to be among those killed in the attack:
14.05 The fact that there are still tourists to attack in Tunisia tells its own story, writes
Colin Freeman - who asks whether today's attacks will force the government to change its relatively passive stance on homegrown extremism:
Ever since it became the birth place of the Arab Spring in 2011, the tiny north African nation has been the only country in the region to enjoy anything approaching stability after the overthrow of its resident dictator.
However, the process of rebuilding the country after years of iron rule under Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has not been the straightforward process that it once looked like being.
Significantly, the nation of 11 million has also contributed more jihadist fighters per capita to the conflict in Syria than anywhere else.
Some have interpreted that as a sign that Tunisia has chosen to turn a blind eye against its extremists, as long as they only cause trouble abroad.
Today's carnage on the streets of Tunis may change that.
14.00 Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, confirmed that tourists have been killed and hostages taken in a "terrorist" attack on the museum in Tunis. He said:
I condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest terms. There has been a hostage-taking, without doubt tourists have been affected
13.56 Tunisian president
Beji Caid Essebsi is due to make a public statement to the nation shortly, spokesman Moez Sinaoui told AFP.
13.50 Today's terror attack follows a string of attempted strikes Tunisian authorities claim to have foiled.
The government said on Monday that it had arrested four terror cells.
And just last month, it
Bardo Museum, where the hostage situation is ongoing (REX)
13.40 The motivation behind the attack is not yet known, but Tunisia has become >a breeding ground for jihadists
>a breeding ground for jihadists
– it is now the largest source of foreign fighters joining Isil and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.
Louisa Loveluck reports:
Nestled in Africa’s northern crest, Tunisia is often hailed as a lone Arab Spring success story. As much of the region was wracked by fighting, a week ago Tunisians went to the polls for the second free parliamentary vote since the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
But the country also stands out for another reason – it is now the largest source of foreign fighters joining the Islamic State (Isil) and other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq. By some estimates, the number could be as high as 3,000. US officials say the total number of foreign fighters is around 16,000.
In March 2014, an fighter from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant named as Abu Anas al Tunisi – Abu Anas the Tunisian – carried out a suicide attack on an Iraqi government complex, disguised in military uniform. Photos on Isil-linked social media accounts show groups of hoodie-clad Tunisians, smiling and clutching their guns.
Radicalised Tunisians have also been found with jihadist groups in Algeria, Iraq, Libya and Mali.
Read in full:
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' Bardo Museum (AFP/GETTY)
13.23 Mohamed Ali Aroui, a government spokesman, has
A terrorist attack targeting the Bardo Museum [was carried out by] two or more terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs
There are eight victims [including] seven foreigners.
The majority of tourists were evacuated.
Anti-terrorist units have entered the museum.
Tunisian security forces secure the area after gunmen attacked Tunis' Bardo Museum (AFP/GETTY)
13.19 The Foreign Office has updated its travel advice to avoid the area until further notice:
Latest update: Summary - there are reports of an incident at the Tunisian parliament building and Bardo Museum in Tunis; you should avoid the area until further notice and follow the instructions of the Tunisian security authorities
13.14 Two Britons are among those killed, according to reports, along with one French and one Spanish. The Telegraph has not been able to verify this information.
BREAKING: 8 dead in #Tunisia Bardo museum hostage-taking include 2 Britons, 1 French, 1 Italian, 1 Spaniard, 1 Tunisian and 2 unknown— Borzou Daragahi (@borzou) March 18, 2015
Radio Mosaique is reporting 10 hostages are still being held.
13.13 The hostage situation is taking place at the Bardo Museum, adjacent to Tunisia's parliament building, where gunfire was heard earlier.
13.08 A counter-terror operation is under way, according to local reports, with images emerging on social media:
MORE: Local media reports that the Bardo museum attackers are armed with Kalashnikov and grenades.— Israel News Flash (@ILNewsFlash) March 18, 2015
13.03 It is also unclear who the attackers are. Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists in recent years, including some linked to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
A disproportionately large number of Tunisia recruits have joined Isil fighters in Syria and Iraq.
>According to ICSR
>According to ICSR, 1,500-3,000 Isil fighters are from Tunisia.
12.55 The nationalities of the seven foreign tourists killed, and those believed to be still held by gunmen, are not yet known.
More than 420,000 British nationals visited Tunisia last year, according to the Foreign Office.
12.46 Two explosions from grenades thrown by the terrorists have been heard at the scene, according to Tunis-based journalist
Med Dhia Hammami:
12.39 Seven foreigners and one Tunisian have been killed in the shooting attack, says AP.
12.37 Eight tourists have been killed in the attack, Reuters reports, citing a government official.
#Bardoattaque 8 dead, 7 tourists, 1 Tunisian— Tunisia Live (@Tunisia_Live) March 18, 2015
12.04 Tunisian security forces have surrounded at least two militants believed to be holding hostages at a museum in the country's parliament grounds.
A spokesman for the country's interior ministry said tourists had been taken hostage at the museum, believed to be the Bardo museum in Tunis, and that one person was injured.
Private radio station Radio Mosaique said that three men dressed in military-style clothing had launched the attack.
Shortly before, exchanges of gunfire were heard at Tunisia's parliament building, the country's state news agency reported.
Parliamentary committees suspended their meetings as MPs were ordered to assemble in the main chamber, Islamist MP Monia Brahim told AFP.
A witness near the parliament told Reuters a large police presence was moving to evacuate the building.
The Bardo museum chronicles Tunisia's history and includes one of the world's largest collections of Roman mosaics.
Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists since overthrowing a dictator in 2011.
Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tunisia/11479898/Tunisia-attack-tourists-taken-hostage-at-museum-near-Tunis-parliament-live.html