Tunisia's interior ministry said the twin suicide attacks targeted security forces, killing at least one officer and wounding another nine people in the capital Tunis.

Police officers are seen at the site of an explosion in downtown Tunis, Tunisia. June 27, 2019.
Police officers are seen at the site of an explosion in downtown Tunis, Tunisia. June 27, 2019. (Reuters)

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in separate attacks on police in the Tunisian capital on Thursday, killing one police officer and wounding at least nine other people, the government said.

It was not immediately known who was behind the attacks, which took place months before an election and at the peak of a tourist season in which Tunisia is hoping for a record number of visitors.

One attacker detonated explosives in a busy commercial district near the French embassy shortly before 1000 GMT, apparently targeting a police patrol. One of the officers died from his injuries, and another was injured along with three bystanders.

At nearly the same time, a second bomber struck at an entrance to the anti-terrorism brigade on the outskirts of the city. Four officers were hospitalised with injuries.

The attack took place about 200 metres away from the French embassy.

Shortly afterwards, a second suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to the anti-terrorism brigade in al Qarjani district. Four people were wounded, the interior ministry said.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Heavily-armed police cordoned off the sites of the attacks.

Reuters witnesses saw people rushing away from the scene, while the body of one suicide bomber lay on the ground.

"I was shopping with my daughter and we heard a big explosion. We saw the body of the terrorist lying on the ground near a police vehicle after he blew himself up," said a man who gave his name only as Mohamed.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sofian Zaak said the attackers had not yet been identified, and he called on the public to show strength and not panic.

Battling militancy

Tunisia has been battling militant groups operating in remote areas near the border with Algeria since an uprising overthrew autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. High unemployment has also stoked unrest in recent years.

Last October, a woman blew her self up in the centre of Tunis capital. She killed at least 15 people, including 10 police officers, in an attack that broke a period of calm after dozens died in militant attacks in 2015.

Security has improved since authorities imposed a state of emergency in November 2015 after those attacks – one at a museum in Tunis and another on a beach in Sousse. 

A third attack targeted presidential guards in the capital and killed 12 people. Daesh claimed responsibility.

Those actions scared off holidaymakers and investors, worsening an economic crisis.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies