Costa FascinosaNewspapers are reporting that several gunmen stormed a popular museum in Tunis, Tunisia today killing 17 tourists, as well as a police officer and Tunisian civilians. Some news accounts report that as many as two dozen people were also injured.

Two cruise ships were in port and had sent thousands of passengers into the city on excursions. CNN says that some of the cruise passengers were at the museum at the time of the attack. The Daily Mail reports that "a Tunisian tourist guide told how he ‘stared death in the face’ as terrorists opened fire on his clients in the attack which saw people shot as they exited cruise ship buses parked outside the museum."

CBS News says that the terrorists targeted tourist buses when they arrived at the museum. The terrorists, dressed in police uniforms, then opened fire on the tourists before they could reach the museum.   

According to the Italian newspaper, The Local, a Costa cruise ship, the Fascinosa, with 3,161 registered passengers, was docked in Tunis at the time of the attack. Costa issued the following statement:

"On the occasion of today scheduled call some guests on cruise on board our Costa Fascinosa had a tour in the city. All the shore excursions organized by Costa during today stop in Tunis have been Tunis Terror Attackimmediately recalled on board," the company said in a statement.   

CNN says that the MSC Splendida was also in Tunis at the time of the attack.

The Italian newspaper stated that the Bardo museum is visited regularly by tourists, with many disembarking from Mediterranean cruises. 

Commentators believe that the group is affiliated with an Islamic terrorist organization like ISIS. Tunisia is a major recruiting ground for ISIS. 

The siege was the most violent attack on tourists in over a decade.

Mail Online has dramatic photos and video of the attack.

Costa stated on its website that the Costa Fascinosa left the port of Tunis at 1:55 PM. Upon departure, the captain reported that 13 passengers had not returned to the ship

This is a scenario which we have been concerned about. Read our recent article:  Experts: ISIS Poses Terrorist Threat to Cruise Ships in Mediterranean.

March 19 2015 Update: USA Today reports that "MSC Cruises said nine passengers from the Splendida were killed, 12 injured and six unaccounted-for, according to the AP. The Costa Fascinosa said 13 passengers had not returned on board when the ship left the port."

March 20 2015 UpdateUpdate on Terror Attack Against Cruise Tourists in Tunis

March 21 2015Is Cruising Safe? A Chilling Look at an Industry Under Seige – an article I wrote for Yahoo Travel.

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Photo Credit: Bottom AFP

  • Mohamed

    Why do you people always associate terrorism with Islam? You never get tired from this stereotype???

    “Islamic terrorist organization” what the hell made it Islamic, is it because they look and wear like Muslims or because they are Arabic??

    It is very annoying to put the word Islamic when mention terrorism, Islam was never the religion of terrorism.

  • just me

    People usually use the term ‘Islamic’ when talking about these acts because it usually has everything to do with Islam/muslims.
    as the saying goes if the cap fits…..personally I am getting sick and tired of these nutters. Dangerous lunatics.

  • Peter Topping

    Best, most informative report on the web of the situation in Tunis. Thanks, I will be back to visit more often.

  • Mohamed:

    My family lived in North Africa for 20 years. I have read the Koran. I do not believe that all Muslims are terrorists any more than I believe that all Christians are KKK clan members.

    The terrorists who killed the tourists in Tunis today are Islamic extremists. You can call them militarized jihadists or ISIS or ISIL members or whatever label you want. They are evil.

    It’s annoying when people like you deny that these radicals are not Islamic terrorists. It’s disrespectful for you to be complaining about this when you should be praying for the dead killed by radical terrorists in the name of Allah.

  • George

    Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslim

  • Eduardo

    Veja a reportagem.
    Foram 13 passageiros do Costa Fascinosa que não voltaram ao navio.

  • Leanne Marie Poundall

    so sad… R:I:P and thoughts go out to all the families who lost loved ones..

  • mark fendon

    Its always religion involved, we were booked to go to Tunisia in June because we love it there and find the people nice but I cancelled yesterday and sad to say we are too scared to go back in case some religious nutcase goes mad.

  • Mohamed

    According to the AP, Islamic State, which is active in Tunisia’s chaotic neighbor Libya, praised the two attackers in an audio recording as “knights of the Islamic State” armed with machine guns and bombs.

    The AP reports that the gunmen were trained at a jihadist camp in Libya. The two men had been recruited at mosques in Tunisia and traveled to Libya in September.

    The two dead militants were identified as Tunisians, Hatem al-Khashnawi and Yassin al-Abidi.