AP Interview: Spanish couple recounts hiding in Tunis museum

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Spanish tourist Juan Carlos Sanchez was waiting in Tunisia’s leading museum to go have lunch with his tour guide when a man came streaking past, fleeing gunshots.

As gunmen fired on tourists, Sanchez and Cristina Rubio, who is four months pregnant, hid in fear — and stayed in hiding all night, hours after police killed the two gunmen and the museum’s other visitors were escorted to safety.

“We saw a man come running in chased by the shots of a terrorist. We just saw the man who hit the floor and realized that someone was shooting and went to hide,” Sanchez told The Associated Press in the maternity ward of a Tunis hospital Thursday.

“We hid in a small room and that’s where we stayed until the police saw us today and then we left.”

Sanchez’s voice was steady but his eyes were still wide as he recounted the attack and ensuing all-night vigil at the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

“We spent all night there and we thought the terrorists were still outside,” he said. “But it was simply the police who were searching for people. We thought they were terrorists out there and that’s why we didn’t venture out.”

After they emerged safely Thursday after dawn, Rubio sat in the maternity ward, in a bed with a tray of uneaten couscous and other hospital food, smiling as they received a visit from Health Minister Said Aidi.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters in Valencia that Spanish consular officials and police had searched all night for the couple, who were neither listed among the 23 dead nor among those found safe after Wednesday’s attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis.

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Harold Heckle in Madrid contributed to this report.