TUNIS, Tunisia — With bullets flying and his heart pounding, Spanish tourist Josep Lluis Cusido never got a clear look at the men shooting their way through the Bardo museum in Tunis as he hid behind a pillar. The only thing he noticed what that the attacker closest to him seemed young.
Cusido, the mayor of the small Spanish town of Vallmoll, will never know for certain but the man who stood just a few meters (yards) away was likely 20-year-old Yassine Laabidi – the younger of the two attackers.
“They looked to see how they could inflict the most damage possible. I saw one group who was in the museum who took refuge in a room… They went in there and machine gunned them all,” Cusido told The Associated Press Saturday, stifling a sob.
After breakfast Wednesday morning, Laabidi had left home to go to his job making deliveries for a local business, his father Arbi told The Associated Press outside the family’s home in the neighborhood El Omrane at the edge of Tunis.
Later that day he joined up with 26-year-old Hatem Khachnaoui and shot dead 21 people at the renowned museum – including a Tunisian security agent who had recently become a father – before being killed in a shootout with security forces.
In El Omrane – a poor neighborhood that has proven fertile ground for jihadi recruiters – a mourning tent has gone up in front of the Laabidi home, where the family is still trying to come to grips with the fate of a young man they said “liked the good life.”
“We want to know who transformed him, who brainwashed him so that he went to kill innocent people. We have to find the people who are sending our children to death and setting our country adrift,” said his brother, Khaled.