Two missing Spaniards in Tunis found safe and well

Tunisian government has identified two of the terrorists involved in Wednesday’s attack

Juan Carlos Sánchez and Cristina Rubio, pictured during their recent wedding.
Juan Carlos Sánchez and Cristina Rubio, pictured during their recent wedding.

Tunisian authorities were on Thursday still in the process of identifying the bodies of the 20 tourists killed in a terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in the capital Tunis. Among the dead are two Spaniards, a retired couple from Barcelona.

Two other Spanish tourists who had not returned to their cruise ship after Wednesday’s tragic events were located safe and well on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría confirmed during a public event in Seville. Their names are Juan Carlos Sánchez and Cristina Rubio, and the pair had just got married.

Diplomatic sources said the couple are from the town of Sueca in Valencia. Because the woman was four months pregnant, it had been decided to take her to a nearby hospital to be examined.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, in which 20 tourists were killed

Shortly before official confirmation of the news, MSC Cruceros, the cruise ship company on which the pair had traveled to Tunisia, had reported that one of them had been located in the area surrounding the Bardo Museum. A representative of MSC, Amira Chamkia, explained that an employee of the company had traveled to the area to find the two Spaniards and take them to a hotel in the Tunisian capital.

Nationality of the victims

The terrorist attack carried out at the Bardo Museum on Wednesday has left 23 people dead, 20 of whom were foreign tourists. But 24 hours after the attacks, information about the victims is still shrouded in confusion. But the nationalities of the victims confirmed so far are as follows: two Poles, two Spaniards, one Briton, four Italians, two French, one Belgian and an Australian-Colombian.

Consulate staff had been searching morgues, hospitals and hotels for signs of the two missing Spaniards.

Meanwhile, the Tunisian prime minister, Habib Essid, has identified the two attackers who were shot dead on Wednesday. Their names are Yassine Abidi and Hatem Khachnaoui. “They are two terrorists but right now it is not possible to say whether they belong to one terrorist organization or another,” Essid told French radio station RTL, although he did state that Abidi was known to the authorities.

The attacks saw 20 tourists killed, three of the attackers die and dozens injured, some seriously.

One of the cruise ships whose passengers were present during Wednesday’s attack has already left the port on the outskirts of Tunis, while the second is still awaiting news of several of its passengers. The Costa Fascinosa, owned by Costa Cruceros, left the port at 1.55am bound for Mallorca. The company said on Thursday that 13 of its passengers had not returned after the attacks.

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A total of 3,161 passengers were aboard that ship, of whom 60 were Spanish.

The attack began on Wednesday morning when a man of Western appearance, and looking about 20 years old, fired a machine gun at a bus carrying around 40 Spanish-speaking tourists who were on a Mediterranean cruise that had stopped in Tunis. In the first attack, seven people were killed, according to their guide, Wasel Busid.

Minutes later, at least three other men took a large number of hostages inside the Bardo Museum, and holed up in a garden area between the museum and the parliament building. The attackers, police and a museum cleaner died in the ensuing rescue operation.

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