Germany’s Minister of Interior Thomas de Maiziere (2nd L), Minister of Interior of France Bernard Cazeneuve (L), UK’s Home Secretary Theresa May (2nd R) and Minister of Interior of Tunisia Najem Gharsalli (C) lay flowers on beach where 38 people were killed on June 29 in Souuse, Tunisia. (Photo: Amine Landoulsi/ Anadolu Agency)
Elham Asaad Buaras
Eight suspects remain in custody on suspicion of being directly linked to the deadly attack on holidaymakers in the Tunisian resort of Sousse on June 26, announced Tunisian Minister, Kamel Jendoubi, on July 2.
Thirty-eight tourists (30 of whom British) were killed when 28-year-old student Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on a beach for 38 minutes. “Islamic State” also known as Daesha (al-Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham) Arabic for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Post-mortem results on Rezgui revealed strong traces of cocaine, explaining why he was laughing and why he failed to detonate a bomb which was found close to his body.
A total of 20 Scotland Yard officers, including senior detectives and specialist forensic officers, have been deployed to Tunisia by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, which is leading the coronial investigation on behalf of the coroner and supporting the Tunisian investigation.
Tunisia has deployed 1,377 armed security agents at hotels and on beaches. Tunisian Police have released photos of two suspects, Bin Abdallah and Rafkhe Talari – friends of Rezgui whom they are yet to locate.
Officials believe Rezgui was trained in neighbouring Libya, which has been mostly lawless since Nato-led forces overthrew long-serving ruler Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Daesh has built a significant presence in Libya and is thought to control the major towns of Derna and Sirte.
In May, two tweets were sent with a warning: “To the Christians planning their summer vacations in Tunisia, we cant accept u in our land while your jets keep killing our Muslim Brothers in Iraq 7 Sham.”
Bravery of locals
@johnyeo68 – I'm with you – was on beach at Palm marina – whilst we were running to hide, hotel staff were running out to help, very brave
— Ian Symes (@iksymes) June 28, 2015
Survivors of the massacre have praised the actions of locals who formed a human shield to protect tourists and “saved many lives”.
John Yeoman, who was on holiday with his wife at a neighbouring resort during the shooting, said his wife met another holidaymaker caught up in the shootings.
This man told her that a hotel chef came running towards him and his girlfriend telling them to run for their lives. “He was the one who told them that the line of people they could see ahead of them were staff from the hotel,” Yeoman said.
“He said to this couple that they were telling the gunman ‘you’ll have to get past us and we’re Muslims’. They’d actually made a human barricade – ‘you’re not going to get past us, you’ll have to kill us.’ ”
Yeoman said the bravery of the staff disproves any suggestion that Muslims are all violent extremists.
“Everyone seems to think ‘it’s the Muslims, it’s the Muslims’, but it is not, it is not their way,” she said. “There are no words to express how grateful we are to them [the staff].”
Another Briton, Ian Symes, said: “Whilst we were running to hide, hotel staff were running out to help, very brave.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) immediately condemned the terror attack branding it “sickening violence” in a statement to The Muslim News.
MCB, Secretary General, Dr Shuja Shafi, said: “If the attackers claim to be doing this in Islam’s name, they are misguided. That it took place in Ramadan, a month of peace, love and mercy, is especially galling. These atrocities have affected people of different faiths and nationalities, and come amid continued violence and conflicts around the world. We pray for a more peaceful world; our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.”
Prime Minister, David Cameron, led the condemnation insisted Britain will prevail in its generational struggle against extremism.Cameron said the country had to “confront this evil with everything we have got”.
He told MPs Daesh had hijacked the “Islamic faith for its own perverted ends” and the UK and its allies had to challenge and defeat its extremist narrative.
“Just as in the Cold War, we did have to confront the ideology; we have to do so again. In the end, we will win because our values of democracy, tolerance, the rule of law, freedom and free enterprise are better values and offer young people far more hope than going off and being part of a death cult that subjugates women, murders homosexuals and creates such murder and mayhem across the world,” declared Cameron.
Cameron also led a minute of silence in the House of Commons on July 3.