Tunisia’s Interior Ministry has identified the man behind an attack that killed five people earlier this week, saying Thursday that he intentionally targeted a synagogue on the Mediterranean island of Djerba in a premeditated act. The ministry described the shooting as a “cowardly criminal attack” but refrained from calling it an act of terrorism.
On Tuesday, a member of the Tunisian national guard opened fire at the historic El-Ghriba synagogue in Djerba, killing three of his fellow guards and two civilians. At least 10 other people were injured in the attack, according to the ministry.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Interior Minister Kamel Fekih identified the assailant as Wissam Khazri, a member of the national guard stationed at the naval base in the island’s port town of Aghir. Fekih recounted the details of the attack, saying Khazri killed one of his colleagues at the base before seizing his weapon and moving to a schoolyard near the synagogue.
Khazri waited there for a police car to leave before entering the synagogue and shot the first victim at the site at 8:13 p.m. on Tuesday. Fekih said that he opened fire indiscriminately on the security guards before being surrounded and shot.