First suicide bombing in a decade hits Tunisian beach resort



A Tunisian protester holds an Al-Qaeda affiliated flag amid the smoke coming from the tear gas fired by riot police during a protest against a film mocking Islam outside the US embassy in Tunis on September 14, 2012.


Fethi Belaid

A suicide bomber struck a Tunisian beach resort Wednesday, while police foiled another attack nearby.

The bomber targeted the Riadh Palms Hotel in Sousse, which is popular among European tourists.

A hotel employee told the BBC that the incident began in the morning hours at the entrance of the hotel.

Agence France-Presse reported that the bomber was chased from the front entrance and blew himself up on an empty beach.

Only the suicide bomber was hurt in the bombing.

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Wednesday's attack was the first suicide bombing in Tunisia in more than a decade.

In 2002, Tunisian suicide bombers linked to Al Qaeda killed 21 people, mostly European tourists, at a historic synagogue on the island of Djerba.

Anther bomber attempted to blow himself up at the tomb of former President Habib Bourguiba in the southern city of Monastir, about 10 miles from the first attack, on Wednesday.

Police captured the suspect and arrested him before he could detonate the explosive.

The police also detained five other people in Sousse thought to be plotting attacks.

"The two suicide bombers are radical Islamist jihadists. They are Tunisians, but they had been in a neighboring country," Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui said.

Bourguiba became Tunisia's president after independence from France, but was deposed in 1987. He died 13 years ago.

Tunisia's 2011 revolution, which heralded the Arab Spring, has meant increasing political instability and an increase in attacks by Islamic extremist groups.

Many of the attacks have been directed at the country's security forces.