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At least three killed, including French national, in attack near synagogue in Tunisia

By Eyad Kourdi and Hande Atay Alam, CNN

At least three people were killed and nine others wounded in an attack near a synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba on Tuesday, according to the Tunisian Interior Ministry.

A security guard for the Marine’s Center for the National Guards killed a colleague “with a weapon and got his ammunition,” the ministry said in a statement on Twitter.

The attacker then “tried to reach near El-Ghriba worshipping place (the synagogue) and started to shoot randomly at security units deployed there where the latter confronted him and shot him dead.”

The three victims included the other security guard, and two visitors, the ministry said. The count does not include the shooter, who was killed by security forces.

Tunisia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that a 30-year-old Tunisian and a 42-year-old French national were among those killed.

The attack came amid an annual pilgrimage to the island of Djerba that draws hundreds of Jews from Europe and Israel, Reuters reported.

La Ghriba is Africa’s oldest synagogue, a revered and iconic location at the heart of the island, according to Reuters. It was built on the site of a Jewish temple that is believed to date back almost 1,900 years.

Authorities did not identify a motive for the attack but Islamist militants have previously targeted the pilgrimage in Djerba and have staged other attacks in the country, according to Reuters.

One of the most well-known attacks is the 2002 truck bombing by al Qaeda militants, which killed 21 Western tourists – prompting high security at the synagogue in the following years.

Reuters contributed reporting.

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