Update 1:45 PM EST:
At least 19 people have been reported killed following an attack and three-hour hostage crisis at the popular National Bardo national museum in Tunisia's capital.
Prime Minister Habib Essid said 17 of the people killed were foreigners. Two shooters have also been reportedly killed.
As the New York Times reports:
The attack began at a time when hundreds of visitors were on their way into the museum. Interior ministry officials said the gunmen were armed with grenades and assault rifles. Gunfire was first heard around 12:30 p.m.
Helicopters buzzed over the area in the afternoon, and Tunisian state television said they were evacuating people from the area, possibly including those injured in the attack.
The site of the attack, the National Bardo Museum, is in central Tunis near the national Parliament, which was evacuated as police officers responded to the attack and surrounded the area.
And the Guardian adds:
Relief that the siege was over was mixed with dismay among those watching. “This is a black day for Tunisia,” said Karim Ben Sa’a, a manager in the tourism industry. “We are very sad for these tourists. They visit our country and it is so, so, sad to see them die. Our hearts are black.”
Elsewhere in Tunis there was shock and dismay that terrorists had managed to launch an attack at the very heart of the capital, at a museum that shares the Bardo palace complex with the national parliament. Police set up checkpoints and a policeman with a machine gun was posted outside the office of the UK’s British Council. [...]
The attack came a day after Tunisia announced a major seizure of weapons from jihadi groups, triggering speculation that the museum attack may have been launched by jihadi groups in revenge.
Unidentified combatants launched attacks in Tunisia's capital on Wednesday, killing at least seven foreign nationals and one Tunisian, and taking an unknown number of people hostage.
The shootings and kidnappings reportedly took place at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.
An Interior Ministry spokesperson told NBC that two people carried out the shootings.
Local media, however, said there were three attackers. The Guardian reports:
The shooting broke out about midday local time (11.00 GMT), according to local reports. Radio Mosaique, a private radio station, reported that three men dressed in military-style clothing may have taken hostages inside the museum, adjacent to the national parliament building.
The state of the combatants and hostages is not immediately known.
Updates and reports are being posted to Twitter: