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Tunisia: Prez Essebsi rushed to hospital just after twin blasts rock capital, France condemns


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Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi was rushed to a military hospital after suffering a "severe health crisis", shortly after two suicide blasts struck the capital, killing a police officer on Thursday.
Citing the Tunisian presidency on Facebook, CNN reported that the 92-year-old president was "taken seriously ill and transferred to the military hospital in Tunis."
The announcement came as police were securing the site of two suicide bombings that targeted security forces in Tunis and injured at least three civilians and many police personnel.
The director of Charles Nicolle Hospital told the state-run TAP news agency that all of those wounded in the explosions were in stable condition.
The first blast occurred in central Tunis when a bomber targeted a police patrol on the city's main thoroughfare, Charles De Gaulle Avenue, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
Ten minutes later, a police station in the city was hit by a second bomber.
"One person blew themselves up behind the back door of the police department in El Gorjani neighbourhood," the ministry said in a statement.
At least four security personnel were injured in the El Gorjani bombing -- two of them seriously, according to Interior Ministry spokesman Sofien Zaak.
However, it is unclear who was responsible for the attacks.
An employee working at the French Embassy here, located close to the incident site, was quoted as saying that he saw a police car that appeared to have been damaged by the first blast but gave no further details on the origin of the explosion.
The first bombing was at 10:50 a.m. (local time) and the second was at 11 a.m. (local time).
The attack came a day after the fourth anniversary of the 2015 Sousse attack, in which gunman, identified as Seifeddine Rezgui, went on a rampage on a Tunisian seaside resort, killing 38 people, mostly British. The responsibility for the attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror group.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is currently attending the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, has also condemned the attack.
"I strongly condemn the attacks that have affected the heart of Tunis today. All our thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. France stands alongside the Tunisian people in this event," Macron wrote on Twitter.

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First Published: Jun 28 2019 | 3:02 AM IST

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