A media house affiliated with the Islamic State group praised a Monday attack on Tunisian security forces in a statement released on Tuesday. The statement claimed the shooter had unsuccessfully tried to join the militant group in their so-called caliphate and instead decided to carry out attacks in his homeland by himself.
At least seven people were killed, and an additional 10 were injured on Monday, when a Tunisian corporal opened fire inside military barracks in the country’s capital, Tunis. The attacker, identified as Mehdi Joumai, was killed in a confrontation with Tunisian security forces at the scene of the attack.
In a separate statement, social media accounts affiliated with the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, claimed that the attack was also praised on ISIS radio al-Bayan.
The Official Claim of Bouchoucha Attack from IS al-Bayan Radio pic.twitter.com/xgOTh5zHNZ
— Abu al-Qacem Sfaxian (@Tel_Muwahedeen) May 26, 2015
Ifriqiyyah media house released the text statement, using the same format and outlet that disseminated the ISIS claim of responsibility for the Bardo Museum attack in March, when gunmen killed 22 people, also in Tunis. Neither document bore the ISIS flag, which appears in most of ISIS propaganda and official statements.
It also contained at least one factual error, which is uncommon in ISIS statements, as they come directly from the group’s leadership in Iraq and Syria, but are more frequent when claiming these smaller, lone wolf attacks outside the so-called caliphate.
“A solo lion Muslim armed with a knife launched the attack on ‘Bouchoucha’ military barracks at the heart of Tunis in the center of the country’s most heavily guarded security place,” the statement said. “The apostates started spreading lies and rumors everywhere in desperate attempts to trivialise the Jihadist operation.”
Local media sources claimed that Joumai had “family problems” and suffered from behavioral issues, which resulted in his being banned from holding positions that required holding a weapon. He reportedly stole the gun of another Tunisian soldier to carry out the attack.
The statement critcized the government for claiming the operation was an “accident” and not an attack.
The statement was released after Tunisian security forces launched a counterterrorism investigation that included searching a nearby mosque and ruled out terrorism as a cause.
"The incident which took place at the Bouchoucha barracks is not connected with a terrorist operation,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mohamed Ali Aroui told Agence France-Presse.