'Little' security at Tunisia attack resort: inquest

2017-01-17 22:40


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London - A report on security at hotels in the Tunisian resort of Sousse had found security failings just months before a terror attack, an inquest into the killings of 30 British tourists there heard on Tuesday.

Andrew Ritchie, a lawyer who represents 20 victims' families, read extracts from the report at the hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

"There seems to be little in the way of effective security to prevent or respond to an attack" from the beach, the lawyer quoted the report as saying.

The report was compiled in January 2015, shortly before June when the mass shooting occurred, Ritchie said. He gave no details about the authorship of the document, but it was heavily redacted.

The report included the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel where extremist Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 people including 30 Britons and three Irish citizens.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

The area had previously been targeted by a suicide bomber in October 2013, who had killed only himself and had accessed one of the hotels from the beach.

The inquest opened on Monday and is expected to last three weeks. It is not a trial although it could lead to further legal action by victims' families.

Jane Marriott, a Foreign Office official, said there was "little public desire for a more intrusive police presence" in Tunisia following the overthrow of its authoritarian regime in a popular revolt in 2011.

"This made it difficult for the authorities to be proactive with security," she said.

Samantha Leek, the main lawyer the inquest, on Monday said a report by a Tunisian judge had identified failings by local security which could have ended the attack before more police arrived and killed Rezgui.

"He said the units that should have intervened in the events deliberately and unjustifiably slowed down to delay their arrival at the hotel," she said.

"They had the ability to put an end to the attack before the police arrived but wasted a considerable amount of time in getting to the hotel," she added.

Read more on:    uk  |  tunisia  |  north africa

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