UPDATE 8-Gunmen storm Tunisian museum, kill 17 foreign tourists

miércoles 18 de marzo de 2015 18:32 GYT

* Japanese, Italians, Colombians, Polish, among dead - PM

* Security forces kill two militants, free hostages

* Blow to country dependent on Western tourism

* Stock market falls, some tours cancelled (Updates nationalities, analyst remark)

By Tarek Amara and Mohamed Argoubi

TUNIS, March 18 (Reuters) - Gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed Tunisia's national museum on Wednesday, killing 17 foreign tourists and two Tunisians in one of the worst militant attacks in a country that had largely escaped the region's "Arab Spring" turmoil.

Five Japanese as well as visitors from Italy, Poland and Spain were among the dead in the noon assault on Bardo museum inside the heavily guarded parliament compound in central Tunis, Prime Minister Habib Essid said.

"They just started opening fire on the tourists as they were getting out of the buses ... I couldn't see anything except blood and the dead," the driver of a tourist coach told journalists at the scene.

Scores of visitors fled into the museum and the militants - who authorities did not immediately link to any extremist group - took hostages inside, officials said. Security forces entered around two hours later, killed two militants and freed the captives, a government spokesman said. A police officer died in the operation.   Continuación...