Prayers at synagogue in Djerba
Prayers at synagogue in DjerbaReuters

Tunisian President Kais Saied on Wednesday sought to assure that Tunisia will remain safe after Tuesday's shooting attack at a synagogue in Djerba.

"I want to reassure the Tunisian people and the whole world that Tunisia will remain safe despite this type of attempt intended to disturb its stability," Saied said in a statement quoted in the Xinhua news agency.

Said added that the attack at the El Ghriba synagogue in Djerba was meant to hit the state, destabilize its institutions, and harm the tourist season.

"The state will watch over the security of the population and the stability of the country," the President stressed, adding that Tunisia will always remain a land of tolerance and coexistence.

Three people were murdered in Tuesday night’s shooting attack, two of them Jews.

The two Jewish victims have been identified as cousins Aviel and Ben Hadad, one of whom was an Israeli citizen who resided in Tunisia, the other being a French national. The third victim was a security guard.

The terrorist opened fire during a gathering commemorating Lag Ba’Omer, attended by hundreds of local Jews and Israelis.

According to a report by AP, the terrorist was killed by security personnel who sought to prevent him from entering the synagogue.

Following the shooting, hundreds of worshippers who were inside the synagogue were locked inside the building. Only a few hours later, security forces began evacuating the worshippers from the premises.

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.

In the past, thousands would flock to the synagogue for the annual Lag Ba’Omer pilgrimage. In 2013, only 1,000 pilgrims visited the synagogue amid security concerns.

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.