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Two officers stabbed outside Grand Synagogue in Tunisia

The attacker had previously served jail time in a terrorism case

(JTA) – Two policemen standing guard at the Grand Synagogue in the center of the Tunisian capital of Tunis were stabbed on Thursday. 

It is not clear whether anyone was in the synagogue at the time of the attack, AFP reported.

The suspect, who was imprisoned in 2021 over a terrorism case and has since been released, wounded the officers but was overpowered. 

Interior ministry spokesman Fakher Bouzghaya told AFP that an investigation was underway. 

While the country’s current Jewish population is estimated at around a thousand, Tunisia once had a booming Jewish community of around 100,000. The population started dwindling after the nation won independence from France in 1956 and state-tolerated violence against Jews proliferated following Israel’s victory over its neighbors in the 1967 Six-Day War. 

The African country also hosts an annual pilgrimage to El Ghriba Synagogue in Riadh, a centuries-old synagogue in an island town where thousands of Jews once lived. Al-Qaeda terrorists set off an explosion outside the El Ghriba Synagogue in 2002, killing 20 people, including 14 German tourists.

This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

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