ISIS has claimed responsibility for twin suicide attacks that killed a police officer and wounded at least eight other people, a US monitor has said.

The claim is yet to be confirmed by any official agency.

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A wrecked vehicle at the scene of the suicide bombing in Tunis
Getty – Contributor
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A member of the security forces with a radio near the scene of the blast
Twitter

A statement by the Amaq news agency, an outlet with close ties to ISIS that is often the first point of publication for claims of responsibility, also said the group carried out the attack.

“The executors of the two attacks on Tunisian security elements in the capital are Islamic State fighters,” it read.

IS has said that it considers itself responsible both for acts committed by its own personnel and those by people without direct ties to the group but who were inspired by its propaganda.

Claims of responsibility published by Amaq have generally proved to be accurate in the past, the New York Times has reported.

In the first attack today, a police patrol car was targeted near the French embassy in the centre of Tunis at around 11am.

A police officer was killed and three civilians were wounded in that blast.

Body parts were strewn beside a pockmarked vehicle on the corner of Rue Charles de Gaulle and Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the city centre near western hotels.

Footage taken at the scene shows bystanders helping the wounded, including at least one person lying on the ground.

It was around 100 yards from France’s embassy and also close to the Palmarium shopping centre which was targeted by a female suicide bomber in October.

At the same time as the first attack, a second suicide bomber struck one of the entrances of the headquarters of the government’s anti-terrorism brigade, on the outskirts of the city.

Four police officers were wounded in the second attack and heavily armed police cordoned off streets throughout the city.

SHOW OF DEFIANCE

Witnesses rushed away from the scene of the first attack while the body of one suicide bomber lay on the ground.

“I was shopping with my daughter and we heard a big explosion,” said a man who give his name only as Mohamed.

“We saw the body of the terrorist lying on the ground near a police vehicle after he blew himself up.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Sofian Zaak said the attackers had not yet been identified, and he called on the public to show strength and not panic.

People appeared to heed that message and within minutes of the attacks, they could be seen sitting as usual in cafes up and down Habib Bourghiba Avenue.

In a show of more open defiance, some 300 people gathered on the same street and held up pamphlets saying: “We do not fear terror, Tunisia is no place for terrorism.”

They chanted the national anthem and slogans praising the security forces.

Habib Bourguiba Avenue is the heart of the commercial and tourist district and is lined with western hotels and a theatre.

British tourists have only recently started returning to Tunisia after the Sousse beach massacre and Bardo museum shooting in 2015, which ISIS claimed responsibility for.

The Foreign Office urged travellers to “remain vigilant”, keep up to date with developments and follow the advice of local authorities.

Tunisia has been battling militant groups operating in remote areas near the border with Algeria since an uprising overthrew autocratic leader Zine Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

The attacks come as Tunisia’s 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi was taken to hospital after falling seriously ill.

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The scene of the first attack, with the damaged vehicle, seen from the corner of Charles de Gaulle Street

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A member of the security forces carrying a gun in the aftermath of the first suicide attack[/caption]

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Tunisian security forces cordon off the site of an attack
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A man carrying his child near the scene of the blast in the centre of Tunis
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A forensics officer near the arcade with the first blast happened
AFP or licensors

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