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Tunis suicide attacks kill 1 police officer, injure 8

By
Darryl Coote
Two suicide bomb attacks near the French embassy and in the main street in the city of Tunis targeted police patrol cars. Photo by EPA-EFE
Two suicide bomb attacks near the French embassy and in the main street in the city of Tunis targeted police patrol cars. Photo by EPA-EFE

June 28 (UPI) -- Two suicide bomb attacks ripped through the Tunisian capital of Tunis killing at least one person and injuring eight others as its president was rushed to a military hospital due to a "severe health condition."

The Islamic State terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the dual attacks, the Washington Post reported.

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The first suicide bomb exploded Thursday morning, targetting a security patrol on Charles De Gaulle Avenue in the tourist-friendly city center, killing a police officer and wounding other officers and bystanders, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

A second blast occurred about a half hour later near the judicial police directorate, injuring six police officers.

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The National Defense Ministry said that terrorists attempted to destroy a transmitting radio station almost 200 miles away on Mount Orbata, but failed, the state-run Tunis Afrique Presse reported.

"The military units present on the scene responded immediately forcing the terrorists to flee to the mountains," the department said in a release.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed visited said the attacks had "failed."

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"They reflect the desperation of terrorists after the successful security and military operations conducted during the month of Ramadan," he said.

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Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and David Shweikert (D-Ariz.), co-chairs of the Congressional Tunisia Caucus, said in a joint statement that they were "saddened" to learn of the attacks and that they will continue to "stand shoulder to shoulder with Tunisia during this time of grief."

"Terrorism cannot be allowed to take hold anywhere," they said. "We all must unequivocally condemn these terrorist attacks as the heinous and cowardly acts of violence that they represent."

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Meanwhile, President Beji Caid Essebsi, 92, was rushed to the hospital Thursday due to a "severe health condition," the presidency said on Facebook.

Later in the day, the presidency said he was "stable" and undergoing tests.

The suicide attacks are the first since October when a female suicide bomber attacked police on Habib Bourguiba Avenue.

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