Tunisia’s President, Beji Caid Essebsi, has vowed to fight terrorism “without mercy”, following a gun attack on the Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis that killed 19 people.
Seventeen tourists were killed in the attack, including visitors from Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland and Spain, officials said.
Two Tunisians, one a police officer, were also killed in Wednesday’s attack.
President Essebsi said the country was “in a war with terror”.
Critical Moment In Our History
“These monstrous minorities do not frighten us,” he said “We will resist them until the deepest end without mercy.
“Democracy will win and it will survive.”
Prime Minister Habib Essid said: “It is a critical moment in our history, and a defining moment for our future.”
At the time of the attack, deputies in the neighbouring parliamentary building were discussing anti-terrorism legislation.
Parliament was evacuated, but later reconvened for an extraordinary session in the evening.
Many Tunisians took to the streets of central Tunis to protest against the attack, waving flags and lighting candles outside the museum.
World leaders condemned the attack and expressed their support for Tunisia’s counter-terrorism efforts.
The UN Security Council issued a statement saying no terrorist action could reverse Tunisia’s path towards democracy.
The statement offered condolences to those affected by the attack, and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Meanwhile, White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the US would “continue to stand with our Tunisian partners against terrorist violence”.
Tunisia has struggled with Islamist extremism since its authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in January 2011.
Dozens of police officers and military personnel had been killed or wounded in violence blamed on militants including Islamic State.
The latest attack came a day after security officials confirmed the death in neighbouring Libya of a leading suspect in Tunisian terror attacks and the killings of two opposition figures.