Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Blog #5: Tourists Killed in Museum Rampage

Twenty-two people were killed in a gun attack on the Bardo Museum in the Tunisian capital. Of the people killed were Italian, Spanish, Polish, and German citizens, a Tunisian police officer, and two gunmen. Other reports suggest up to 50 could have been hurt. At the time of the attack, deputies in the parliamentary building nearby were discussing anti-terrorism legislation, which was evacuated during the standoff. Mr. Essid said that “it is a critical moment in our history, and a defining moment in our future.” He also stated that the two terrorists that were killed could have been assisted by two or three others. One of the museum employees said that the attackers opened fire on the tourists as they were getting off the buses. According to an eyewitness, there were helicopters flying overhead and tanks rolling in. The Bardo national museum is Tunisia’s largest museum, holds one of the largest collections of Roman mosaics, and some items are more than 40,000 years old, with a new wing that was added in 2009 which doubled its size.

The attack on the Bardo Museum is a setback to Tunisia’s efforts to revive tourism, however it is not surprising. Ever since the overthrowing of its president in 2011, Tunisia has struggled with violence by Islamic extremists as they have tried to thwart the transition to democracy. In the article it states that tourism is a key sector of Tunisia’s economy, so the attack may have took a blow to their economy. Libya is a major source of concern for Tunisia because of all the violence that has been taking place there. Also stated in the article, a large number of Tunisians have left to join the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, which has triggered worries that returning militants could carry out attacks at home. With that being said, an increase in Tunisian security would be a smart move. 

Bethany Shaffer
4:23 p.m.

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