The president’s office made the announcement of the arrests following a speech by the leader of the country late Wednesday where he declared the country was now in war with terror.
Beji Caid Essebsi the just elected President condemned what he called the savage minority groups, after a group of gunmen attacked the National Bardo Museum located in the capital city of Tunis.
After the siege was ended by police, thousands of people from the country flocked to Bourguiba a downtown landmark for a rally Wednesday night. The group chanted for a Free Tunisia defying terrorism.
The president in an address to his nation that was on television said he wanted Tunisians to understand first and lastly that a war is now going on against terror and that the savage minority groups would not frighten them. The government said Essebsi will fight against terrorists until they have been exterminated.
Early Thursday, the prime minister of the country told a radio station from France that one attacker was known to the intelligence services of the country, but that no formal link was established with any known terror groups.
Wednesday’s attack was the deadliest since 2002 on civilians in his North African country. Two militants with military style uniforms wielding assault rifles burst out of a vehicle and starting shooting tourists who were exiting their buses to visit the museum.
The two attackers, who were identified as Hatem Khachnaoui and Yassine Laabidi then ran into the museum to take hostages prior to being killed during a firefight with the country’s security forces.
Major roadways were guarded on Thursday as authorities continued a hunt for two or more accomplices they believed had been involved with the attack.
A cruise ship had passengers on the buses that were amongst the victims. The ship left the Tunis Port early on Thursday. Nine cruise passengers were killed and 12 injured, while six were still not accounted for. Another ship in port said that 13 of its passengers did not return to the ship when it left port overnight.
In all 18 tourists were killed – two Columbians, four Italians, two Spaniards, and one each from Poland, France and Australia. Japan’s diplomats said three of its citizens were killed.