At least three people were murdered in an attack outside of a synagogue in Tunisia during Lag Ba'Omer celebrations Tuesday.
A former Tunisian naval guard shot and killed a colleague and two civilians on Tuesday near the synagogue on the island of Djerba as Lag Ba’Omer celebrations were taking place there, the Tunisian Interior Ministry said, according to The Associated Press.
One of the civilians killed in the attack has been identified as a local Jewish man, while the other has been identified as an Israeli national.
The attacker was killed by security guards seeking to prevent him from entering the synagogue, the ministry said in a statement. In addition to the dead, ten people were wounded in the attack.
The assailant is a guard affiliated with the National Guard naval center in the town of Aghir on Djerba. He first killed a colleague with his service weapon and then seized ammunition and sought to reach the Ghriba synagogue, the ministry said.
When he reached the area, he opened fire on security units stationed at the synagogue, which was locked down so that those inside were kept secure while authorities investigate the motives for the attack, the ministry said.
Several hours later, police forces began evacuating the worshipers from the synagogue.
It is unclear at this time whether the two civilians who were killed were among the worshipers in the synagogue at the time of the incident.
Djerba is home to one of the last Jewish communities in the Arab world, and the synagogue is believed to date to the sixth century BCE.
Last year, hundreds of worshipers took part in the annual Lag Ba’Omer pilgrimage. This was the first time the celebrations were held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.