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Tunisia museum attack: Akil the German Shepherd, killed by gunmen, hailed a hero

An unusual victim in the attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital city last Wednesday is getting a lot of attention.

'Without him, there may have been many more deaths,' Tunisian official says

Police lead their dogs during the attack by gunmen on Tunisia's national museum in Tunis on Wednesday. One of the victims of the attack was Akil, a one-and-a-half-year old German shepherd that reportedly guided police to the gunmen. Akil was then shot and killed by one of the attackers. (Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters)

An unusual victim in the attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunisia's capital city last Wednesday is getting a lot of attention.

"It's a victim we don't talk about but it's a heavy loss," the Tunisian President, Beji Caid Essebsi, said yesterday.

The victim was Akil — a one-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd that reportedly guided the police special forces to the two gunmen on the second floor of the museum. It was then shot and killed by one of the gunmen.

When the dog's body was wheeled out of the museum in Tunis, one person yelled "Bravo" and the crowd cheered and clapped.

Tunisians are calling Akil a hero.

"Without him, there may have been many more deaths," said a Tunisian interior ministry bureaucrat.

The attack on the museum killed 21 people, most of them foreign tourists from cruise ships. There were about 150 to 200 people inside the museum when two gunmen stormed the building. The attackers were later killed in a firefight with security forces.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

With files from CBC's Sylvia Thomson

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