Tunisian authorities were Wednesday investigating a shooting spree by a police officer that claimed five lives and sparked mass panic during a Jewish pilgrimage at Africa's oldest synagogue.
Security forces threw a tight cordon around the site on Djerba island as officials probed whether Tuesday's shootings were a random killing spree or an anti-Semitic terrorist attack.
The police officer first killed a colleague and took his ammunition, then went to the Ghriba synagogue and opened fire, sparking terror on the final day of the annual pilgrimage.
Wearing his uniform and a bulletproof vest, he shot dead two visitors and injured two more. In the ensuing gun battle, he also wounded six police officers, two of whom later died, hospital sources said.
The assailant was then shot dead himself, the interior ministry said, without identifying him.
"Without the rapid intervention of the security forces, there would have been wider carnage" because hundreds of people were at the site, said Rene Trabelsi, a former tourism minister, speaking on Mosaique FM radio.
Trabelsi, who was at the synagogue during the shootings, named the visitors killed as Tunisian Aviel Haddad, 30, and his France-based cousin, dual national Benjamin Haddad, 42.
The killing spree was Tunisia's first deadly attack on foreigners since 2015, and the first to target the Ghriba pilgrimage since a suicide truck bombing killed 21 people in 2002.