Massive explosion as woman blows herself up in popular tourist area

TERRORISM returned to Tunisia today as a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the centre of the capital Tunis.

The bomb reportedly targeted policemen outside the Palmarium shopping centre in a district close to museums and hotels.

Police cordoned off central Habib Bourguiba Avenue after the explosion echoed around the city at lunchtime.

A theatre, a shopping centre and several Western hotels line the street, which is close to government ministries and the French embassy.

Ambulances rushed to the scene as unconfirmed reports claimed six police officers were killed.

Tunisia’s interior ministry – whose offices overlook the scene – called it a “terrorist explosion” and said nine people were hurt including eight police officers.

Witness Mohamed Ekbal bin Rajib told Reuters: “I was in front of the theatre and heard a huge explosion and saw people fleeing.”

In March 2015, 22 people including 20 foreign tourists were killed in a gun attack by Islamist terrorists at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Three months later 30 Brits were among 38 people murdered by an ISIS gunman in beach resort Sousse.

Tourists have only recently begun returning to the country after the terror threat seemed to have subsided.

The Foreign Office lifted travel warnings in 2017, with only limited areas rated as too dangerous for tourists.

More to follow…