Published: Jan 15, 2011 9:29 PM EST
Updated: Jan 15, 2011 6:29 PM EST

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) - Soldiers and police have exchanged fire with assailants in front of Tunisia's Interior Ministry amid unrest after the longtime president was ousted.

Associated Press reporters saw the shootout Saturday that left two bodies on the ground on a big square in central Tunis. It was not clear whether the two were dead or injured, or who they were.

Snipers could be seen lying down on top of the ministry's roof.

The exchange came soon after Tunisia swore in a new interim president on Saturday. The country has been grappling with looting, deadly fires and widespread unrest after protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee on Friday.
Meanwhile, a top official in the Tunisian coastal city of Mahdia says the prison director there freed about 1,000 inmates following a deadly rebellion. The official says soldiers at the prison opened fire on the inmates after started setting fire to mattresses and other objects. The official estimates that five people were killed. He says the prison director opened the prison gates to prevent further bloodshed.