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Officials: Gunmen kill 27 in attack on Tunisian resort

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) – A pair of gunmen killed at least 27 people on a Tunisian beach Friday in the latest attack on the north African country’s key tourism industry, the Interior Ministry said.

The gunmen opened fire on the beach in the resort town of Sousse between the Soviva and Imperial Marhaba hotels before security forces responded, killing one of the attackers, Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui said. The other attacker fled the scene, he said.

There were no details about the nationalities of the victims, but during the holy month of Ramadan Tunisia’s Muslim population is less likely to go the beach, so those there would have been predominantly foreign tourists.

“There was a mass exodus off the beach,” British tourist Gary Pine told Sky News, adding that his son saw someone who got shot.

He said guests at his hotel were first told to lock themselves in their rooms, and later to gather in the lobby.

In March, two gunmen attacked the national museum in Tunis killing at least 22 people, all but one tourists.

A group pledging allegiance to the radical Islamic State group claimed that attack and has promised more.

Since overthrowing its secular dictator in 2011, Tunisia has been plagued by terrorist attacks – though only recently have they targeted the vital tourism sector.