TUNIS - Tunisia forces killed nine militants, including a top commander, during a raid late on Saturday, the government said, hours before world leaders were due to march in Tunis in solidarity after an attack on the Bardo museum this month.

French President Francois Hollande was among those expected to attend the march, along with thousands of Tunisians, after the attack nearly two weeks ago, in which 24 people died, including 21 tourists, two militants and a Tunisian policeman. Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid told reporters the raid in the southern Gafsa region killed nine militants from the local group Okba Ibn Nafaa, including an Algerian militant Lokman Abu Sakhr, accused of helping orchestrate Bardo.

‘We have killed most of the leaders of Okba Ibn Nafaa who were behind many recent attacks,’ Essid said at a Tunis airport waiting to greet visiting leaders. ‘This is a clear and strong response to the terrorism after the Bardo attack.’ Thousands of police and soldiers were positioned around the capital early on Sunday before the ‘Le Monde est Bardo’ protest along a main boulevard leading to the museum known for its collection of Roman mosaics.

The killing spree at the Bardo was one of the worst attacks in Tunisia’s history. The North African country has mostly avoided violence since its 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and has been praised by the international community as a model of democratic transition with a politics of compromise, a new constitution and free elections. A fourth French national died of her wounds following the March 18 attack, the French president’s office announced on Saturday.

Japanese, Polish, Spanish and Colombian tourists were among those killed in the attack that the government says was aimed at destroying Tunisia’s vital tourism industry, which makes up around seven percent of its economy.

Islamic State claimed the Bardo attack though the Tunisian government has said the Okba Ibn Nafaa group, which has a base in the Chaambi mountains borderingAlgeria, was involved. That group was previously more allied to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but it has also made vague statements on its position toward Islamic State, the al Qaeda splinter group that now controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.

The Bardo attack underscored how Islamist militant loyalties are blurring as they seek a new North African front, especially in Libya, where political chaos and factional fighting has allowed Islamic State to gain an outpost. Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is also taking part in the demonstration on Sunday, along with leaders from Palestine, Poland, Belgium, Libya and Algeria. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sent a message of solidarity.

The Bardo attack came as Tunisia was trying to clamp down on Islamist militants. According to the government, 3,000 Tunisians are fighting for militant groups in Iraq,Syria and Libya, and hundreds have returned, raising fears of more attacks at home. Tunisia is also about the embark on politically sensitive reforms to cut public spending and create jobs. Inequalities were part of trigger for the 2011 uprising and many Tunisians say they have yet to see promised economic opportunities.