TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisian forces shot dead three suspected Islamic militants who rammed their vehicle into security officers and attacked them with knives, killing one and injuring another in the coastal resort town of Sousse, authorities said Sunday.
Sousse was the site of Tunisia’s deadliest extremist attack in 2015, when a massacre killed 38 people, most of them British tourists.
An Interior Ministry statement said Sunday that the assailants took refuge in a school after the attack and died in a shootout with security forces.
The North African nation’s prime minister, Hicham Mechichi, appeared to suggest that the assailants’ planning may have been faulty.
Speaking in Sousse, at the site of the attack, he announced the arrest of a fourth suspect who had been aboard the vehicle that rammed the National Guard officers.
“These terrorist groups wanted to signal their presence,” he said. “But they got the wrong address this time. The clearest proof of that is that the authors of this attack were eliminated in a few minutes.”
He added that “these microbes must fear the Tunisians because lions are protecting the country.”
Hatem Zargouni, director of security for Sousse, said the assailants stabbed the officers and then fled with their weapons.
The injured officer was hospitalized.
The previous attack in Sousse on June 26, 2015, dealt a heavy blow to Tunisia’s tourism sector, a pillar of its economy.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for that attack.
Aymen Rezgui, a Tunisian student who trained with Libyan militants, walked onto the beach of the Imperial Hotel and used an assault rifle to shoot at tourists in lounge chairs. He then continued onto the hotel pool before throwing a grenade into the hotel. He was later killed by police.
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