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Summary

  1. At least 19 people including 17 tourists are killed after gunmen target the Bardo museum in central Tunis
  2. Polish, Italian, Spanish, German and Tunisian citizens are among those killed
  3. Prime Minister Habib Essid says there were up to five attackers and that 22 tourists and two Tunisians were injured
  4. Parliament has now been evacuated and the bulk of the operation is now reported to be over
  5. However the security forces are continuing to combing Tunis for more attackers, Mr Essid says

Live reporting

By Farouk Chothia and Roland Hughes

All times stated are UK

Get involved

This is all from BBC News' live page on the events in Tunis. Before we go, let us remind you of the main facts:

  • At least 19 people, including 17 tourists, have been killed in an attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.
  • A number of people were trapped inside the museum while the attacks went on, and were freed after two hours.
  • Tourists from Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain were killed, as well as two Tunisians.
  • Two gunmen were killed. Up to three associates may be on the run.
  • No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Tunisia's President calls the attack "a horrible crime".
  • Demonstrators are gathering in central Tunis for an anti-terror protest.

There will be plenty more on events in Tunis elsewhere on the BBC website over the coming hours.

Tourists are evacuated from the site of an attack carried out by two gunmen at Tunis" famed Bardo Museum on March 18, 2015
Getty Images

Seif Eddine Trabelsi, Reporter

tweets: Demonstration in front of the municipal theatre against terrorism is now # Tunisia

Here's another image of the anti-terror demonstration in central Tunis. The crowds are reportedly chanting: "Tunisia is free, terrorism out."

Demonstrators gather in central Tunis - March 18, 2015
Twitter

Tunisian radio station Mosaique FM quotes President Beji Caid Essebsi as saying the attack on the Bardo Museum was a "huge disaster" and that the country must "enter a mobilisation phase" to counter future terror threats.

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi (L) speaking during a meeting with members of the central committee of his Nidaa Tounes party
Getty Images

Groups of young people have started arriving outside a theatre on Avenue Bourguiba, in the centre of Tunis, in a show of strength after the attack. Many are waving flags and carrying placards.

Groups of young people arrive outside a theatre on Avenue Bourguiba, in the centre of Tunis - March 18, 2015
Twitter
Groups of young people arrive outside a theatre on Avenue Bourguiba, in the centre of Tunis - March 18, 2015
Twitter

Mr Kerry goes on to say: "We commend Tunisian authorities' rapid response to today's wanton violence and their efforts to resolve the hostage situation and restore calm. The United States stands with the Tunisian people at this difficult time and continues to support the Tunisian government's efforts to advance a secure, prosperous, and democratic Tunisia."

US Secretary of State John Kerry says: "The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today's deadly terrorist attack at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, where gunmen killed 19 people and wounded more than 20 others. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the victims' families and loved ones."

S Secretary of State John Kerry in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, 14 March 2015
EPA

A statement has been put out on behalf of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon: "The secretary-general condemns in the strongest terms today's attack against the Bardo Museum in central Tunis and deplores the loss of life. He conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the victims of this deplorable act."

Ban Ki-moon
AFP

Francois Hollande, French president

Tweets: I express the solidarity of France to Tunisia. Every time a terrorist crime is committed, anywhere , we are all concerned

A Tunisian member of parliament, Sayida Ounissi,

tweets that an extraordinary session of parliament will be held inside the Bardo Museum at 20:30 local time (19:30 GMT).

In that interview, Tunisia's tourism minister

also said that the country's tourism industry wanted to focus more on "cultural tourism, valorising our archaeological sites like Carthage...and the Bardo Museum".

Ennahdha Party

tweets: #Ennahdha stresses that this crime will not break our people's will and will not undermine our revolution and our democracy.

The Bardo Museum, a former palace, is home to an exceptional collection of Roman mosaics. It is a major draw for Tunisia's tourists, who numbered 6.1 million last year.

The French President, Francois Hollande, has spoken to his Tunisian counterpart. Mr Hollande made reference to the terror attacks in Paris in January, which killed 17 people. He said: "When it comes to human life we are incredibly crushed by the terrorist machine. We had these painful events in France in January and it's true today in Tunis as it was in Copenhagen, we are all affected."

Here's another reminder of where exactly the attack took place. The Bardo Museum is very close to the Parliament building, where some reports in Tunisia say a new anti-terror law was being discussed.

Map of Tunis and Bardo Museum - March 18 2015
Google

The French newspaper Le Monde

has spoken to a journalist who was outside the Bardo Museum when the attack was taking place. She spoke of an "incredibly tense" atmosphere which was relieved when, she says, around 100 people were freed.

Nicolas Sarkozy, former French President

tweets: More than ever, France and its allies must fight without weakness terrorist barbarism wherever it is.

BBC Arab Affairs editor Sebastian Usher says that while the identity of the gunmen has not yet been established, they are likely to be Islamic militants who are trying tried to derail Tunisia's democratic transition.

In a

tweet, Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi says he has received a call from his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, expressing his solidarity with Tunisia's people.

The National Bardo Museum - evacuated after the shooting - is a leading tourist attraction that chronicles Tunisia's history and houses one of the world's largest collections of Roman mosaics, PA reports.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

tweets: My deepest sympathies to families of victims of Bardo museum attacks. EU stands united w #Tunisia against extremism.

In a statement, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, says: "With the attack that has struck Tunis today, the [Islamic State] terrorist organisation is once again targeting the countries and peoples of the Mediterranean region."

JM Berger, the author of ISIS: The State of Terror, posted this tweet:

Tweet by J.M. Berger - March 18, 2015
Twitter

Italy's foreign ministry says that two Italians have been injured in the museum attack and 100 Italians inside the museum have been taken to a secure location.

There's plenty of reaction to the events coming in on social media. Here's the take of Daveed Garstenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Tweet by Daveed Garstenstein-Ross, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies - March 18, 2015
Twitter

Two or three gunmen involved in the attack on the museum may still be at large, Prime Minister Habib Essid says.

A disproportionately large number of Tunisians - about 3,000, according to government estimates - have joined Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, AP reports.

Violence in Tunisia in recent years has been largely focused on the security forces, not foreigners or tourist sites, AP reports, although four attackers were killed in an attack on the US embassy in Tunis in September 2012.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini blames Islamic State militants for the attack on tourists in Tunis.

A victim being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo musum in Tunis

A victim being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo musum in Tunis
AP

AFP quotes Tunisia's health minister Said Aidi as saying some of the injured came from France, South Africa, Poland, Italy and Japan.

Sayida Ounissi, an MP with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, says that it is the first time tourists have been targeted by extremists since the uprising in 2010. "Although the security forces said they were actually targeting the parliament, they got stopped before reaching the parliament so they actually went back to the museum and killed the people there."

The first images are coming in of people fleeing the Bardo Museum as the hostage crisis there came to an end. These are all still images taken from Tunisian television.

An image grab taken from the state-run Tunisia 1 channel on March 18, 2015 shows people escaping from Tunis" famed Bardo Museum during an attack
AFP/Tunisian 1
An image grab taken from the state-run Tunisia 1 channel on March 18, 2015 shows people escaping from Tunis" famed Bardo Museum during an attack by two men - March 18, 2015
AFP/Tunisian 1

Imen Ben Mohamed, Deputy of the #ARP - Ennahdha Party - Deputy of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly

tweets: In response to the attack on the deputies gathered in parliament. We send a message of unity and courage against these terrorists in #Tunisia

British freelance journalist Simon Cordall, who is outside the museum

tweets: "Huge cheers from the crowd as the Swat team leave. Hostages being taken away by ambulance. A police officer told me they're fine."

The security forces are continuing their operation, Mr Essid says, and were combing Tunis for more attackers.