At least four killed in shooting incident near ancient synagogue in Tunisia

At least four people were killed after residents from Tunisia’s island of Djerba said they had heard an exchange of shots near the El Ghriba synagogue also known as Djerba Synagogue, where a Jewish pilgrimage is taking place on Tuesday (May 9), said the Tunisian Interior Ministry. 

The attacker had killed two police and two visitors while reportedly trying to reach a synagogue on the island of Djerba and injured four others.  The assailant was killed by security forces, said the interior ministry. A report by The Jerusalem Post citing sources also claimed that hundreds of Jewish worshippers are in lockdown.

A community member named Aitan told The Jerusalem Post said that “there is great panic here. We are in lockdown in the synagogue and also in the guesthouse near the synagogue.” 

According to the Tunisian Interior Ministry, a guard at the naval centre of the National Guard in Djerba killed a colleague of his and then headed for the El Ghriba synagogue, reported The Jerusalem Post. 

The ministry added, that the guard in question began firing indiscriminately at security guards at the synagogue who confronted him and killed him. The Tunisian Interior Ministry confirmed that the synagogue is cordoned off and secured. An investigation into the incident to find out the killer’s motives was also launched, said the officials. 

Meanwhile, Tunisia’s Mosaique FM radio station had also reported an exchange of gunshots on the island and that there are reports of a police officer being shot, however, did not mention if it was close to the pilgrimage site.

Notably, the annual pilgrimage to Africa’s oldest synagogue regularly draws hundreds of Jews from Europe and Israel to the island of Djerba which is around 500 kilometres away from the capital city of Tunis. 

This is a developing story…More to follow. 

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