March 18, 2015: Gunmen attack museum in Tunisia

On this day in 2015 two gunmen killed nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, in an attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis.

TUNIS, TUNISIA – Being at the forefront of a mass social movement for change does not guarantee stability.

We have all heard of the so-called ‘Arab Spring‘. This incredible upswelling of desire for change and representation in countries that had suffered from a lack of both for far too long saw its genesis a decade ago. Wow! Ten years already: how time flies!

You are probably aware that it all started in Tunisia. On December 17, 2010 a street vendor named Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in public after police had confiscated his scales for working as a street vendor without a permit. He had gone to complain to the governor at the provincial government building in Sidi Bouzid, but he refused to see him. He died horribly from his injuries.

The Arab Spring spread to many countries across the region but alas not much real, lasting change came about. Syria descended into a decade-long civil war that has killed at least 380,000 people; Egypt had an election followed by a coup; and even Tunisia, which has fared the best out of all, is not in a good place now.

And this includes acts of terrorism.

On this day in 2015

Two gunmen killed nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, in an attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis. Those killed included citizens from Japan, Italy, Colombia, Australia, France, Poland and Spain: two Tunisians, one a police officer, were also killed.

I started shaking my mother to see if she was alive, but she was not responding. I lost track of her.

Japanese tourist speaking at a Tunis hospital

In 2019 a Tunisian court sentenced seven jihadists to life in prison over the attack as well as for a beach assault. At least justice was shown to be done. Tunisia is far from a model society, however, the bravery of Mohamed Bouazizi notwithstanding.

Read More Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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