The suspected mastermind of twin suicide bombings in Tunis last week was killed when he blew himself up during a police manhunt outside the capital, the interior ministry 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, 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.
His 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.”
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 ministry spokesman said.
Islamic State’s propaganda agency Amaq said that two ISIS fighters had carried out the attack.
On October 29 last year an unemployed graduate blew herself up near police cars on Habib Bourguiba, killing herself and injuring 26 people, mostly police officers. The interior minister later said she had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
The October attack was the first in the Tunisian capital since 2015.
With reporting from AFP