Tunisia says suspected mastermind of June 27 bombings dead
TUNIS, Tunisia – The suspected mastermind of last week's twin suicide bombings in Tunis was killed when he blew himself up during a police manhunt outside the capital, the government said Wednesday, July 3.
Police had tracked the suspect down to the working class suburb of Intilaka where he detonated a suicide vest on Tuesday night, interior ministry spokesman Sofiene Zaag told AFP.
"The terrorist Aymen Smiri was implicated in the twin suicide bombings on Thursday and investigations proved that he was the mastermind of the operation," Zaag said, adding he was a "very active and very dangerous leader."
The investigation had led police to the 23-year-old who lives in Ibn Khaldoun, near Intilaka, the spokesman said.
"We tracked him down and followed him until he was cornered in Intilaka but happily he blew himself up away from other people."
Smiri was suspected of "planning a terrorist operation targeting security personnel," Zaag added.
Remains were strewn along a more than 50 meter (yard) stretch of pavement near a metro station in Intilaka, an AFP correspondent reported.
Resident Ibrahim Mejri, 35, said: "I saw him running to try to get away from the police then suddenly he blew himself up."
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed also said the assailant was part of a group behind last week's bombings.
"All the elements" of the group were arrested, the premier said in a statement published online by private radio Mosaique FM.
The group "planned terrorist operations against Tunisia," he added.
Thursday's bombings in Tunis killed a policeman and brought back memories of deadly 2015 attacks on foreign holidaymakers and security personnel that dealt a serious blow to the country's vital tourism industry.
"The two suicide bombers were identified and a significant number of arrests made," the interior ministry spokesman said. – Rappler.com