The United States condemns “in the strongest possible terms” a terrorist attack at a prominent museum in Tunisia’s capital on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
“We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the victims’ families and loved ones. We commend Tunisian authorities’ rapid response to today’s wanton violence and their efforts to resolve the hostage situation and restore calm,” Kerry said. “The United States stands with the Tunisian people at this difficult time and continues to support the Tunisian government’s efforts to advance a secure, prosperous, and democratic Tunisia.”
Tourists from Poland, Italy, Germany and Spain are among the dead, as well as a Tunisian security officer and a Tunisian cleaning woman, according to an Associated Press report quoting Prime Minister Habib Essid.
The attack, which occurred near the country’s parliament and roughly a dozen miles away from the American embassy in Tunis, comes as the country struggles to contain violence following the overthrow of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
“Our nation is in danger,” Essid warned on national television following the attacks, according to reports. Two of the gunmen were killed, but the prime minister reportedly said a manhunt is underway to find two or three others.
The U.S. Embassy in Tunisia was attacked in September 2012, just days after terrorists laid siege to the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including Amb. Christopher Stevens.