A woman blew herself up in the centre of the Tunisian capital on Monday, wounding 15 people including 10 police officers in an explosion that breaks a period of calm after dozens died in militant attacks three years ago.
Witnesses said the blast happened on Tunis’s central Habib Bourguiba avenue. Hundreds of police cordoned off an area near the landmark Municipal Theatre and the French embassy, while ambulances evacuated the wounded.
“I was in front of the theatre and heard a huge explosion,” Mohamed Ekbal bin Rajib told Reuters.
Security has improved since authorities imposed a state of emergency in November 2015 after attacks on tourist targets that scared off holidaymakers and investors, worsening an economic crisis caused by a chronic deficit.
“We thought we had eliminated terrorism but we hope that terrorism will not bring us down, especially with the bad political climate in Tunisia now,” President Beji Caid Essebsi said.
Shops were closed on the busy avenue that was the scene of protests that toppled long-serving leader Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali at the start of the 2011 “Arab Spring”.
The bomber, aged 30, had no known militant background, the interior ministry said. Local media gave her name as Mouna.
“The woman left her city three days ago and told her family that she was going to the capital to look for work”, said Walid Hkima an official in interior ministry. She had a university degree in English and was from the coastal governorate of Mahdia, he said.
No tourists were injured, a security source said.