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Sousse
 

Deadly attack on Tunisia tourist hotel

At least 37 people have been killed in a gun attack on a beach in front of hotels in the Tunisian resort of Sousse.

FUENTES The Guardian, BBC, Agencies AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus Tunis 26 DE JUNIO DE 2015 16:00 h
The Imperial Marhaba hotel near Sousse, where the gun attack occurred / Anna Stowe Travel

Gunmen have attacked a beach hotel at a tourist resort in Tunisia, killing at least 28 people. Officials said one of the gunmen was shot dead by the security forces.



Tunisia’s interior ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui says the police operation to catch a second gunman behind the attack on the beach resort is ongoing and the exchange of fire is continuing, reports AP.



The attack happened in the city of Sousse, one of Tunisia’s most popular beach resorts, drawing visitors from Europe and neighbouring North African countries



This was the second armed assault on a Tunisian tourist destination in a matter of months. In March Islamist gunmen killed more than 20 people in an attack on the Bardo Museum, in the capital Tunis.



Witnesses reported that gunmen opened fire on the beach between the Soviva and Imperial Marhaba hotels. Mohammed Ali Aroui told the state news agency the victims were mostly tourists but did not give any nationalities.



A security source at the scene said the body of one attacker, armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, lay where police had shot him dead. There were reports that one other assailant was on the run.



 



A Tunisian anti-terrorism officer / Reuters



 



MOSTLY EUROPEAN VICTIMS



Witnesses reported that gunmen opened fire on the beach between the Soviva and Imperial Marhaba hotels. Mohammed Ali Aroui told the state news agency the victims were mostly tourists but did not give any nationalities.



The Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel where today’s attack took place has said that the majority of the 565 guests at the hotel are from the UK and other central European countries.



“The majority of the guests are from the UK and other central European countries. However, it is not possible at the moment to confirm the nationalities or any other details of the victims”, they explained.



Tunisians, Britons, Germans and Belgians and at least one Irish citizen are among the dead.



 



The majority of the guests are from the UK and other central European countries



 



EUROPEAN REACTIONS IN BRUSSELS



Speaking in Brussels, the British prime minister, David Cameron, offered “our solidarity in fighting this evil of terrorism.”



“This is a threat that faces all of us. These events have taken place in Tunisia and in France but they can take place anywhere. We all face this threat”, he added.



He has also written in his personal twitter: “I am sickened by the attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. Our countries stand together in combatting the horrors of terrorism.”



Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has confirmed that one of the two beachside hotels near the attack is owned by a Spanish company, says the AP news agency.



Mr Rajoy said from Brussels that the attacks in Tunisia and France were both acts of terror but did not provide more details. The board of directors of RIU Hotels and Resorts was holding an emergency meeting.



European Council President Donald Tusk begins a news conference in Brussels with an expression of condolence for the victims: "First of all let me express our condolences and solidarity to France, Kuwait and Tunisia - which have been the victims of savage terrorist attacks."



 



Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba, owned by a Spanish company



 



WITNESSES TESTIMONIES



Elizabeth O’Brien, an Irish woman on holiday with her two sons at the resort, described how she grabbed her children and ran when they heard gunfire coming from one of the hotels.



“We were on the beach; my sons were in the sea and I just got out of the sea. It was about 12 o’clock and I just looked up about 500 metres from me and I saw a [hot air] balloon collapse down, then rapid firing, then I saw two of the people who were going to go up in the balloon start to run towards me,” she told RTE Radio.



Gary Pine, a British tourist, told Sky News he was on the beach and heard what “we thought was firecrackers going off” 100 metres away, followed by an explosion from the neighbouring hotel complex.



“There was a mass exodus off the beach,” Pine said, adding that his son told him he had seen someone get shot on the beach. Pine said guests at his hotel were initially told to lock themselves in their rooms, and later to gather in the lobby.



One of the travel agencies more affected,  Thomas Cook said in a statement that it was trying to ascertain if its customers were affected. “At this time, details are not clear as to which properties have been affected, with conflicting news reports. Our teams on the ground are offering every support to our customers and their families in the area. We will continue to monitor the situation, working closely with the FCO and local authorities.”


 

 


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