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Tunisia Hunts for 3rd Gunman in Museum Attack

  • VOA News

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said Sunday that a third gunman in the massacre of tourists at the country's national museum is on the loose.

"Two were executed but one is on the run still. But he won't go very far," Essebsi told French television interviewers from inside the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

The Tunisian president's statement was the first time officials have said there were three gunmen in Wednesday's attack that left 21 people dead, all but one of them foreign tourists.

Tunisia's Interior Ministry released security camera video showing two men armed with assault rifles walking through the museum. At one point, they encounter a third man with a backpack, briefly acknowledge each other, and then head in opposite directions.

In this frame made from CCTV and released by the Tunisian government, two gunmen and third unidentified man can be seen inside the Bardo museum in Tunis, March 18, 2015.

In this frame made from CCTV and released by the Tunisian government, two gunmen and third unidentified man can be seen inside the Bardo museum in Tunis, March 18, 2015.

Essebsi told Paris Match magazine Saturday there were security failures at the museum, one of North Africa's prime cultural institutions.

"The police and intelligence were not systematic enough to ensure the safety of the museum," the Tunisian president said. Officials say that guards who were supposed to be protecting the museum and the nearby parliament were having coffee at the time of the attack.

Police responding to the assault killed two of the gunmen, who later were identified as Tunisians in their 20s who had trained in Libya.

Islamic State militants, who are seeking to establish a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and other parts of the Muslim world, claimed responsibility for the attack. But purported details of the attack have also appeared on social media sites linked to an al-Qaida-affiliated group in Tunisia.

Some material for this report came from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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