Tunisia attack: Unrest in Tunisia since Arab Spring popular revolt

TUNIS (AFP) - Tunisia on Wednesday saw its first deadly attack on foreigners since the 2010-2011 uprising that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after 23 years in power.

But the country that gave birth to the Arab Spring has seen a sharp rise in Islamist militancy which has left dead about 60 police and military personnel.

A timeline of unrest:

2010

Dec 17: A young university graduate who has only been able to find work as a fruit seller burns himself to death to protest police harassment and unemployment in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, unleashing rioting which spreads across the country. Some 338 are killed.

2011

Jan 14: Under massive popular pressure Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia.

Feb 25: Police stations are attacked as anti-government demonstrations force Ben Ali's last prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, to resign. He is replaced by veteran politician Beji Caid Essebsi.

Oct 27-28: Violence erupts in Sidi Bouzid after results of Tunisia's first free election are announced, in which the Islamist Ennahda party wins most seats in a constituent assembly.

2012

June 11-12: Unrest triggered by an art exhibition of work deemed offensive to Islam. The government blames hardline Salafists and old regime loyalists.

Sept 14: Four attackers killed in clashes at the US embassy amid protests over an anti-Islam film.

Nov 27-Dec 1: 300 hurt in clashes between police and protesters in Siliana, south-west of Tunis.

2013

Feb 6: Prominent opposition leader Chokri Belaid shot dead, triggering deadly protests and a political crisis that brings down Islamist prime minister Hamadi Jebali. On July 25 opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi is shot dead. In December 2014, Islamic militants claim both killings.

July 29: Eight soldiers are killed in the Mount Chaambi area near Algeria where Tunisian forces have been hunting an Al-Qaeda-linked group since December. On Aug 2, the army announces a major operation against Islamist militants in the area.

Oct 30: A suicide bomber blows himself up on a beach in the resort town of Sousse, leaving no victims, while security forces foil another planned attack nearby.

2014

Feb 4: The suspected Islamist assassin of Belaid is killed in a police raid, one of seven heavily armed terrorists slain in an operation launched at a house in a Tunis suburb.

June 13: Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb says it was responsible for an attack on the interior minister's home that killed four policemen, the first such claim in the country.

July 16: Suspected Islamic militants kill 15 soldiers in the Mount Chaambi region, in the deadliest such attack in the army's history.

Oct 24: Police kill six suspected militants, five of them women, in a raid on a suburban house after a 28-hour standoff, fanning tensions ahead of parliamentary polls.

Dec 21: Essebsi wins Tunisia's first free presidential election.

2015

March 18: Tourists from Poland, Italy, Germany and Spain are among 17 foreigners killed as gunmen attack a Tunis museum, according to the country's authorities.