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Tunisia: Attack on Djerba synagogue was premeditated by national guard member

Tunisia’s interior minister identified the assailant and revealed details of the attack at an ancient synagogue on the island of Djerba that killed at least five people.
Women gather oustide a house at the Hara Kebira, the main Jewish quarter in the resort island of Djerba, after attending a ceremony at the Ghriba synagogue following a shooting spree by a police officer on the southern Tunisian island on May 10, 2023. Tunisian authorities were investigating the shootings that claimed five lives and sparked mass panic during a Jewish pilgrimage at Africa's oldest synagogue today. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP) (Photo by FETHI BELAID/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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