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Gunmen Storm Tunisian Museum In Deadly Attack

Overhead of Bardo Museum interior in Tunis.  Gunmen attacked the museum, killing at least 8 people and holding others hostage.
Bethune Carmichael Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
Overhead of Bardo Museum interior in Tunis. Gunmen attacked the museum, killing at least 8 people and holding others hostage.

Gunmen, wearing military uniforms and carrying assault rifles, have attacked a popular tourist attraction in the Tunisian capital of Tunis. According to state television, Tunisian authorities say at least eight people were killed and six wounded at the National Bardo Museum, which is adjacent to the country's parliament building.

Gunmen are believed to be holding hostages inside the museum.

NPR's Leila Fadel, who is in Tunis, says the gunmen opened fire on the museum before entering the building. She says police are now inside the museum and have surrounded two of the attackers.

According to The Associated Press, a Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman says one of the dead was a Tunisian, and Poland's Foreign Ministry announced that three Poles were among the wounded.

Al-Jazeera English TV has video of security forces training their weapons on the museum and the parliament building as people flee the area.

Fadel says the small North African nation of Tunisia was where the so-called Arab Spring began in 2011. She says the country has been spared much of the violence seen in other countries in the region, but has struggled with a growing number of Tunisians joining the self-proclaimed Islamic State.

She says the country is considered one of the biggest exporters of militants, anywhere from one to 3,000 young men have gone to fight with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and there are concerns about their plans when they return home to Tunisia.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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