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Tunisia Beach Attack: British Death Toll Confirmed As 30

A gunman opened fire on a beach full of tourists in Tunisia, killing 38 people. Thirty of the victims were from Britain.

Originally posted on
Updated on
Kenzo Tribouillard / Getty Images

Tourists mourn at the site of the shooting attack on the beach in front of the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port el Kantaoui, on the outskirts of Sousse in Tunisia.

What We Know So Far

  • 38 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a beach in the Tunisian city of Sousse.
  • 30 of the victims were British.
  • The gunman has been identified as Seifeddine Rezgui. The 23-year-old, who was later shot dead by police, is believed to have had links to ISIS.
  • Prime minister David Cameron said the UK is "united in shock and grief". He called on Britain to be "more intolerant of intolerance".
  • The bodies of the British victims have begun to be repatriated.

Updates

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Foreign secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed that all 30 British victims have now been identified.

All 30 British victims of #Tunisia attack now positively identified by police. By tonight 17 will have been brought home to their loved ones

He added that by this evening, 17 of the victims will have been brought back to the UK.

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The Tunisian government has said 12 people have been arrested following the attack last week.

BREAKING: Tunisia government says arrested 12 suspects tied to hotel attack, hunting for two militants who trained in Libya

The government is also said to be searching for two militants who trained in Libya with the gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, Reuters reported.

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Foreign secretary Philip Hammond has announced the number of Britons confirmed killed in the Tunisian attack has risen to 29.

"One victim now remains who we believe is British but police require further time to confirm the identity," he added.

Hammond said the bodies of eight victims were repatriated by the RAF earlier today.

"The remaining bodies will be flown back to Britain over the coming days," he said.

All the injured British tourists have now returned home.

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A court spokesman has told CNN seven Tunisians have been arrested in connection with last week’s attack.

7 Tunisians were arrested in connection with last week's attack on hotel in Sousse, Tunisian court spokesman says. http://t.co/hVPsKDNXSQ

Sofiene Selliti told CNN "very important information" had been found on Rezgui's phone.

The phone was reportedly recovered from the sea near the site of the attack in Sousse.

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An RAF plane will fly some of the victims back to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the BBC reported.

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The number of Britons confirmed killed in the attack has risen to 22.

No10: the number of British dead formally identified in #Tunisia has now risen to 22. Remaining 8 bodies also believed to be from UK

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A Tunisian security official has told the Associated Press that the gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, trained in Libya at the same time as the attackers who killed 22 people in an assault on the Bardo museum in March.

Top security official says Tunisia beach gunman trained in Libya with museum attacker: http://t.co/xxwpzeuorn

"It has been confirmed that the attacker trained in Libya with weapons at the same period as the Bardo attackers. He crossed the borders secretly," Rafik Chelli, the secretary of state for the Interior Ministry, said.

Chelli said Rezgui left Kairouan University in Tunisia and travelled to the Libyan town of Sabratha in January.

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The number of Britons confirmed killed in the attack on Friday has risen from 18 to 21, Reuters reported.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Holidaymakers lay flowers on Marhaba beach in Sousse, Tunisia.

A spokeswoman for prime minister David Cameron made the announcement on Tuesday.

She added the British government is currently attempting to confirm the identities of another nine people killed in the shooting who are thought to be British nationals.

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Tunisian police have released images of two suspected associates of Seifeddine Rezgui, ITV News reported.

Tunisian police release images of gunman's suspected accomplices in Friday's terror attack http://t.co/q6Yb1PIpg6

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The prime minister told the House of Commons that the silence will happen at 3pm on 3 July.

He also told MPs that the government believes the gunman may have been part of an ISIS-inspired network.

An employee at the El Mouradi Palm Marina hotel – next to where the attack took place – described the panic and confusion of the attack to BuzzFeed News:

When the attack began, I heard shots. One of my colleagues who works in the hotel came running and she told us that there is something in the beach, so I ran with my colleagues to see what happened.

We found many of our guests there. They came running from the beach and swimming pool. They were afraid, so we tried to calm them, but we didn't know what had happened either. We didn't believe that there was a terrorist. It seemed like a bad dreams to us, like something unreal.

After we heard more shots, I chose to protect our guests and I tried to take them inside and explain to them that there is danger outside. [Our] English guests told us that when they were on the beach they saw a man dressed in black who came in a boat and that he started shooting people in the beach.

We don't know really know what the truth is. We don't know what will happen to our country. Will tourists still come here? We are sad and afraid about our country, and our future.
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BuzzFeed News has spoken to Dr Younes Dahmane, a doctor in Tunisia who treated 14 victims of Friday's attack.

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Dahmane said he wanted the world to know that Tunisia was "not OK" with what happened.

"The tourists were our friends, our guests, and we failed to protect them," Dahmane told BuzzFeed News. "I can't imagine all the suffering and all the pain they had to endure. I will remember those I treated who lost their family in the attack, and a woman who told me, when I asked her how she is feeling, that her husband is dead.

"This is not who we are and in those attacks, we are all victims. I also hope that after what happened, our government will take drastic measures and that no more lives will be unfairly taken."

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An employee at the El Mouradi Palm Marina hotel in Sousse has described to BuzzFeed News the scene on the beach on Friday.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

Messages and flowers are placed at the beach of the Imperial Marhaba resort.

"Our hotel is next to the hotel [where the attack took place] and we have the same beach," they said.

"I saw many tourists die and the blood went everywhere. My God, it's so sad. I hope from my God that you don't see something like that in your life."

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Tunisia's interior minister, Mohamed Gharsalli, said on Monday that 1,000 troops had been deployed to protect the country's beaches, the BBC reported.

Zohra Bensemra / Reuters

A member of Tunisia's special forces inspects the beachside of the Imperial Marhaba resort.

He said Tunisian authorities had arrested a "significant number" of people from the network thought to be behind Friday's attack.

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An RAF transport plane is on its way to Tunisia to help bring some of the Britons caught up in the attack back to the UK.

Personnel at @RoyalAirForceUK Brize Norton loading C-17 to assist with #SousseAttack in Tunisia

All the Britons injured in the attack are due to return in the next 24 hours, with some travelling in the RAF aircraft, ITV News reported.

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Tunisia's interior minister confirmed that a number of suspects associated with Rezgui have been arrested, Sky News reported.

Theresa May also said during the press conference that there was no evidence that Friday's shooting was a deliberate attack on British tourists but that the resorts were obviously used by Western holidaymakers.

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At a press conference at Sousse, home secretary Theresa May confirmed that at least 18 British tourists had been killed.

She added that the number of victims will rise and is thought to be around 30.

May described the attack as a "despicable act of cruelty".

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The 23-year-old said:

I can't make sense of it, it's all a bit surreal to be honest… Out the corner of my eye I saw a little bit of commotion but there was always entertainment going on and watersports so I just assumed it was a similar sort of thing, but I sat up to have a look and I could see people running very low to the ground and then I heard gunshots and people screaming.

My sister wasn't on her sunbed so my instinct was to find her really… I ran up to the beach bar shouting her name and eventually found each other, found my mum and stepdad and ran back to the hotel. The staff were saying 'run, run faster' so they could close the gates behind us, and when we got into the hotel they told everyone to go to their rooms because that was the safest thing… and wait for further information.

We could still hear gunshots inside the hotel and there was a military helicopter flying around as well that was quite loud and surreal. We sat in my mum's hotel room waiting for it to come on the TV… and it came on, but at the time I still don't think anyone really knew what happened, but when they said that there had been deaths we all looked at each other and couldn't believe it. It was then that it hit that this was bad.
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Home secretary Theresa May has visited the scene of the attack.

Theresa May lays flowers at scene of Tunisian beach massacre http://t.co/58HgyDlip6

May laid flowers on the beach and paid her respects to those killed in the attack.

Later today she is due to meet with members of the Tunisian government to discuss improved intelligence and security, ITV News reported.

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Patrick Evans, 78, his son Adrian Evans, 44, and Adrian's nephew Joel Richards, 19, all died in the shooting on Friday.

The three men were fans of Walsall, and the club said in a statement on Facebook: "Walsall FC are devastated to hear that Saddlers fans lost their lives in the Tunisia terror attacks. Our thoughts are with the family of Patrick Evans, Adrian Evans and Joel Richards."

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Matthew James, 30, reportedly used his body as a shield to protect Saera Wilson, 26, when Rezgui opened fired on the beach.

James told Wilson to "tell our children daddy loves them" before he was shot three times, The Mirror reported.

Wilson thanked people for their messages of support and donations made to a recovery fund page on Sunday.

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There have also been reports of some staff members forming human shields around guests to try to protect them from the gunman.

John Yeoman, 46, from Kettering, told MailOnline that a survivor at Manchester Airport had told him the staff formed a human shield and said "You will have to get past us, but we're Muslim."

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Dozens of British tourists were killed by a gunman in the Tunisian city of Sousse on Friday.

Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Armed police on patrol on Marhaba beach, where 38 people were killed on Friday in a terrorist attack.

At least 39 people were killed in the attack. So far 15 of the victims have been officially confirmed as being British, but there are reports on Monday morning that the figure could rise to 30.

Three generations from one British family have been named among the dead, as well as a couple from Staffordshire in their forties and a 24-year-old photographer.

Home secretary Theresa May is travelling to Tunisia on Monday to meet British holidaymakers caught up in the attack and speak with fellow ministers.

The Queen has also sent her condolences to the families of the victims.

Hundreds of British police officers were deployed at the weekend in one of the largest counter-terrorism operations since the 7 July 2005 terror attack on London.

The Met said the operation currently involves over 600 officers, almost 400 of whom have been meeting travellers returning from Tunisia to help identify potential witnesses.

Senior detectives, forensic officers, and family liaison officers have also been sent to Tunisia.

The attack on Friday was carried out by 23-year-old Tunisian Seifeddine Rezgui, who reportedly had links to ISIS.

Tunisia: First Pictures Of Gunman On Beach Emerge http://t.co/yUlZgy2J6S

Rezgui used a gun hidden in an umbrella and grenades to target the tourists on the beach in front of the Bellevue Park and Imperial Marhaba hotels.

He was later shot dead by Tunisian police.

His father, Hakim, told ITV News he was ashamed and shocked by his son's actions.

Hakim said:

I don't know who has contacted him, influenced him or who has put these ideas in his head. He has new friends who got him into this.

My son had no problem with anyone. But I don't know who has changed his mind, influenced him and who has warped his mind. I wish there had been no victims, no one hurt. I wish it had never happened. Because when I see the victims I think it could have been my own family.

I had no idea and I am really sorry. I am upset to see those victims. I feel the loss of the families so strongly. I feel like I have died along with the victims. I am so ashamed for me, for his mother, for all our family.

"Maybe he was brainwashed or something," Monia Riahi told the newspaper.

Rezgui studied at the University of Kairouan, and is believed to have been drawn to extremism while studying, the BBC reported.

Tunisian police have questioned three of his roommates and his father.

Officials have said they are sure other people helped Rezgui.