THE Ghriba Jewish pilgrimage in Tunisia, the largest Jewish concentration on the African continent, had a bloody outcome. An armed attack left four dead on Tuesday night, including two civilians. The attacker was shot down. The place of worship had already been the target of a terrorist attack in 2002.
Videos circulated on Tunisian social media throughout the night showing pilgrims confined to the synagogue in Djerba with no one knowing what was happening.
The Interior Ministry put an end to this confusion late at night by confirming that it had indeed occurred an attack on the Ghriba pilgrimage.
A Tunisian soldier, the author
According to the Tunisian authorities it was a member of the National Maritime Guard who killed one of his companions, stole his weapon and then went to the synagogue.
Outside the place of worship he opened fire on the policemen who were protecting him. The attacker then killed another police member and two civilians.
thousands of pilgrims
The attack recalls that of 2002, in which 21 people died. The Ghriba pilgrimage, which attracts thousands of pilgrims every year, has been closely monitored by the Tunisian authorities.
Organized on the 33rd day of Passover, the Ghriba pilgrimage is at the heart of the traditions of Tunisians of the Jewish confession, of which there are only 1,500, most settled in Djerba, compared to the 100,000 that existed before independence in 1956.
Other pilgrims traditionally come from European countries, the United States or Israel, but their numbers have significantly decreased since the 2002 bombing.
France condemned “with the utmost firmness” the attack on the Ghriba synagogue in Tunis, which cost the life of a Frenchman, an “heinous” act., according to the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We stand with Tunisia in the fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of fanaticism,” said Anne-Claire Legendre.
“The United States deplores the attack in Tunisia, which coincides with the annual Jewish pilgrimage to the Ghriba synagogue, which draws worshipers from around the world. We express our condolences to the Tunisian people and salute the swift action of the Tunisian security forces.” . State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also responded on Twitter.
With Amira Soulilem, RFI correspondent in Tunisia
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.