Tunisia confirms death of suspected twin suicide bombing mastermind

Investigation had led police to Aymen Smiri, the 23-year-old suspected to be the mastermind of Thirsday’s twin suicide bombing
Tunisia confirms death of suspected twin suicide bombing mastermind

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.

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 reporters.

“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 dangerous leader.”

The investigation had led police to the 23-year-old who lives in Ibn Khaldoun, near Intilaka, the spokesman said.

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“We tracked him down and followed him until he was cornered in Intilaka but happily, he blew himself up away from other people.”

Related: 9 injured in double suicide attacks in Tunis

Smiri was suspected of “planning a terrorist operation targeting security personnel,” Zaag added.

Remains were strewn along a more than 50 metre (yard) stretch of pavement near a metro station in Intilaka, a 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.”

Tunisia confirms death of suspected twin suicide bombing mastermind
Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed (L) and Interior Minister Hichem Fourati (R) arrive at the headquarters of the Anti-Terrorism Brigade (BAT) in Tunis on July 3, 2019. (Photo by FETHI BELAID / AFP)

Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed also said the assailant was part of a group behind last week’s bombings.

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“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.

Related: Tunisia reassures tourists after suicide attacks

“The two suicide bombers were identified and a significant number of arrests made,” the interior ministry spokesman said.

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