Two police officers in the Tunisian capital of Tunis have been stabbed and injured in front of the country’s parliament, officials say, identifying the assailant as a “Salafist.”
“A Salafist attacked two policemen with a knife. One was struck on the forehead and the other stabbed in the neck and is in intensive care,” Interior Ministry spokesman Yasser Mesbah announced on Wednesday, hours after the incident.
Mesbah said the suspect had been taken into custody.
Details of the incident were sketchy. The assailant’s motive and potential affiliation with a terrorist group were not clear.
The Tunisian capital has traditionally been a popular holiday spot for mostly British and other European tourists because of its ancient landmarks, bustling markets, and colonial architecture.
Security in the North African country has deteriorated in recent years. In November 2015, a state of emergency was declared after a terrorist — affiliated with the Daesh terror group — detonated his explosives near a police bus, killing 12 Republican Guard officers.
Since then the state of emergency has been repeatedly extended, most recently on October 12 by one month.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on October 27 issued a travel advisory for its citizens traveling to the southern and western parts of Tunisia.
“Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia,” said the FCO. “You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials, including in and around religious sites.”
In an attack on March 18, 2015, two terrorists went on a shooting spree on foreign tourists in the country’s National Bardo Museum, killing 21 foreigners and a police officer before being gunned down by security forces.
On June 26 that year, another armed terrorist gunned down 38 foreign tourists, mostly from Britain, at the Imperial Hotel near the Mediterranean beach resort of Sousse.
Both of the attacks on foreign tourists were later claimed by the Daesh terrorist group, which has mainly been active in Iraq and Syria but which also has a foothold in crisis-hit Libya, Tunisia’s neighbor to the east.
Tunisia is among the countries with the highest number of radical militants operating in other countries. Official reports indicate that over 5,000 Tunisians have traveled abroad to join terrorist outfits, mainly in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.