Tunisia’s president rushed to hospital on same day as twin suicide attacks

Posted at 4:50 AM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 17:33:11-04

Tunisia’s 92-year-old president was rushed to a military hospital after suffering a “severe health crisis” on Thursday, shortly after two suicide attacks struck the capital Tunis.

President Beji Caid Essebsi was “taken seriously ill and transferred to the military hospital in Tunis,” the Tunisian presidency said in a post on Facebook Thursday.

The announcement came as police were securing the site of two suicide bombings that targeted security forces in Tunis, killing at least one person and injuring several others.

All of those wounded in the explosions were in stable condition Thursday evening, the director of Charles Nicolle Hospital told state-run TAP news agency.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, but did not offer any evidence, in a statement published by the group’s affiliated media wing, Amaq news agency. CNN cannot independently verify its claim.

How the bombings happened

The first blast occurred in central Tunis when a bomber targeted a police patrol on the city’s main thoroughfare, Charles De Gaulle Avenue, according to an Interior Ministry statement.

A police officer was killed in the bombing, TAP cited the Interior Ministry as saying.

It also injured three civilians and several security personnel, who received “received varying degrees of injuries,” the ministry said.

Ten minutes later, a police station in the city was hit by a second bomber.

“One person blew themselves up behind the back door of the police department in El Gorjani neighbourhood,” the statement said.

At least four security personnel were injured in the El Gorjani bombing — two of them seriously, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Sofien Zaak.

It is unclear at this stage who was responsible for the attacks.

An employee at the nearby French Embassy told CNN he saw a police car that appeared to have been damaged by the first blast but gave no further details on the origin of the explosion. He added that he did not see asny injured people.

The first bombing was at 10:50 a.m. local time (5:50 a.m. ET) and the second was at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET).

Police have since cordoned off the locations, Reuters reported.

The attack came a day after the fourth anniversary of the Sousse attack, in which gunman went on a rampage on a Tunisian seaside resort, killing 38 people. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

A state of emergency has been in effect for Tunisia since the terror attacks that year.

Last year, a 30-year-old womanblew herself up near a police patrol in Tunis, injuring at least nine people.