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Tunisia says suspected mastermind of June 27 bombings dead

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EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Tunisian security forces tighten security measures outside a metro station near the bus stop where a man reportedly wearing an explosive belt blew himself up in the early hours of July 3, 2019 in the capital Tunis, after being chased by police. – The Tunisian interior ministry said a jihadist, on the run for two days, was killed on July 3 in the western Tunis neighbourhood of Cité Intilaka while security forces were chasing him to detain him. The official sources said the suspect blew himself up during the police operation. (Photo by – / AFP)

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.

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 metre (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.


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