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Worshippers killed near Africa’s oldest synagogue

Ghriba synagogue (file picture)

Two worshippers and three safety officers have been killed in a gun assault near Africa’s oldest synagogue, on the Tunisian island of Djerba.

The assault happened throughout an annual pilgrimage to the island, which attracts Jewish guests from Europe and Israel.

A guard reportedly shot lifeless his associate earlier than opening fireplace on guests and officers near the Ghriba synagogue earlier than being killed himself.

His motivation was not clear.

The two lifeless worshippers had been cousins.

They have been named by Israeli media as French nationwide Benjamin Haddad, 42, and Aviel Haddad, 30, a twin citizen of Tunisia and Israel.

“They had been shot – murdered in chilly blood. They had been simply within the automobile park and had been purported to go in, in entrance of the doorway for the safety test,” relative Mordechai Madar advised Israeli radio station 103FM.

Tunisia’s former tourism minister René Trabelsi, who organised the pilgrimage and was inside on the time, mentioned the 2 cousins had tried to cover behind a bus exterior the synagogue, Reuters information company studies.

“We heard the photographs and knew it was associated to an assault,” he mentioned.

Four different guests and 4 safety officers had been additionally injured.

Video posted on-line, that has not been independently verified, confirmed guests operating as gunshots rang out.

“People had been completely happy and dancing till we heard quite a lot of gunfire. Everyone ran away… some hid in my workplace and others within the different rooms. There was a number of concern,” the top of Djerba’s Jewish group. Peres Trabelsi, was quoted by AFP information company as saying.

Tunisia’s inside ministry mentioned that investigations had been persevering with to ascertain the motive for the “cowardly” assault.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron promised to proceed combating “towards anti-Semitic hatred”, whereas Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen mentioned the bloodshed proves “evil and hatred are nonetheless there”.

More than 5,000 Jews participated within the 2022 pilgrimage to Ghriba, AFP reported, citing native organisers.

It is just not the primary time the two,500-year-old synagogue has been focused.

In 2002 a bomb assault, claimed by al-Qaeda Islamist militants, killed greater than 20 individuals on the island.

The annual pilgrimage to Djerba – about 500km (310 miles) from the capital, Tunis – has had tight safety because the bombing.

Tunisia is a majority-Muslim nation, however Djerba is residence to tons of of Jews.

Tunisian Jews think about the synagogue probably the most sacred place of worship in Africa. According to custom, the primary synagogue on the positioning was constructed with a stone or gate introduced from King Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem after it was destroyed in 586BC.

Many Jews left mainland Tunisia for Israel following the creation of the Jewish state in 1948, and extra when the synagogue within the capital Tunis was burned down in the course of the 1967 Middle East battle.

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