On Monday afternoon, a suicide bomber blew herself up on a busy Tunis avenue, killing herself and wounding at least nine other people who were mostly police officers, Tunisia’s Interior Ministry said.
The woman aged around 30-years set off the blast just before 2 p.m. in the Tunisian capital’s popular Habib Bourguiba avenue, according to Sofiene Zaag, Interior Ministry spokesman.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement that the suicide bomber, who was not previously known to authorities, blew herself up just near a police patrol. It said that eight police officers and one civilian got wounded. Apart from the bomber herself, there have not been any further reported deaths.
An AP reporter at the scene saw many ambulances which arrived to take the wounded to nearby hospitals. The avenue, along with several adjacent streets, was cordoned off by police.
Zaag was quoted as saying that the explosion took place right in front of Tunis’ city theater. Habib Bourguiba avenue is considered the political, cultural, and economic heart of Tunis — and is sometimes also called Tunisia’s Champs Elysees.
Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM said that Interior Minister Hichem Fourati was on his way to the scene. It also said the attacker was wearing a home-made bomb belt with a very small quantity of explosives. The station cited a security source which it did not name.
It said that the bomber came from the Mahdia region of eastern Tunisia and was previously not known to security services. It said that security services raided her home after the attack.
Tunisian authorities have been on a very high alert in recent years following a spate of attacks which included a deadly shooting in Tunis’ Bardo National Museum in 2015 in which 22 people had died which included many European tourists.
In an Islamic State-claimed attack on a main Tunis road in 2015, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus which was carrying members of the Tunisian presidential guard which killed 12.