Ireland is also in mourning following the attack. Today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the terror attack in Tunisia that killed 38 people, including three Irish citizens, was “an act of hatred”.
Today, I want to send the condolences of the Irish people to the families in the UK and across the world who lost their loved ones. Equally, we stand with the people of Tunisia who feel shocked and betrayed. This attack was an act of hatred. It was a rejection of the values of respect, equality and freedom which we hold so dear.
Survivors of the attack Oliver Hardy and Paige Finn have told Sky News how they are having flashbacks and can still hear the shots and screams.
Vice has published an 11-minute video shot by an anonymous resident of Sousse who followed the gunman onto the beach as the massacre was taking place. It contains graphic footage and images of dead bodies.
Steven Swinford, our Deputy Political Editor, reports that a senior British military commander has said the Armed Forces must be prepared to use Facebook and Twitter to spread “lies” to help fight extremists.
Gen Sir Richard Barrons, Commander of Joint Forces Command, said the West is lagging behind Isil, which is tweeting in 23 languages. He said the armed forces must be more prepared to use social media to help achieve strategic objectives in Iraq .Gen Barrons said: “If you are fortunate enough to be the commander who is going to run the fight for Mosul, probably the most important thing you want to do as you launch your operation, is to get into the minds of the one million citizens of Mosul through their computers and their mobile phone. And either tell them the truth – it’s going to be a tough day… or tell them a lie, you’ve got to move somewhere else. We’ve been doing that for centuries.” He added: “We are dealing with opponents in Isil and Russia who do this for a living. Isil uses Twitter and Facbook in 23 languages. We barely do it in our own.”
Here is our story from Ben Farmer on the “dangerous terrorist” wanted in connection with the Tunisia attack who is “trying to get into Europe”.
Richard Spencer, Middle East Editor, has more information on the gunman, who received training in Libya alongside the two terrorists who carried out an attack at the Bardo Museum in March.
The Tunisian authorities confirmed on Tuesday that Seifeddine Rezgui, the attacker who killed 39 people in the resort of El Kantaoui last Friday, had crossed the border to train in a camp at Sabratha, in western Libya.
Rezgui’s attack was claimed by Isil in a statement on Friday night. The group had already claimed responsibility for the attack on the Bardo Museum, along with other killings in Tunisia in recent months.
In May, the “Ajnad al-Khilafa” account, which had already been used to advertise Isil attacks in Tunisia, sent out two tweets saying: “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 & Sham (sic).
While we now know the fates of most of those reported missing after the attack, a Surrey couple remains unaccounted for.
Relatives have made desperate pleas for help finding Ray and Angie Fisher, who were staying at the resort in Sousse and have not been heard from since the attack.
Repatriations are set to begin for the British victims of the attack, with the first bodies expected to arrive back in the UK tomorrow.
An RAF flight is expected to depart Tunisia tomorrow, though it is not yet clear how many of the victims will be on board. The plane will arrive at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
Rezgui trained in Libya in late 2014 before carrying out the attack, according to a spokesman for the Tunisian prime minister. It is believed that the two gunmen who carried out another attack in Tunisia, at the Bardo museum in March, trained in Libya at the same time. Twenty people died in that attack, many of them western tourists.
This has sparked fears that there may be a Jihadist cell operating inside Tunisia, though no further links have been drawn between the two attacks at this time.
Psychologist Ian Robertson writes that Seifeddine Rezgui, the gunman, was “a normal young man” who was indoctrinated into radical Islam:
The father of Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui said on Sunday that Islamist extremists had “ruined my son’s brain … with horrid thoughts and ideas, they broke him.”
He is right.
Seifeddine Rezgui was almost certainly indoctrinated into a worldwide cult that has made acquired political capital using social media just as Facebook and other companies have made financial capital….
Rezgui was by all accounts a normal young man, a soccer supporter who enjoyed breakdancing to western music but who, after his first year in university, according to a fellow student, showed a marked changed in demeanour. He began to spend more and more time with an extreme Salafi group advocating jihad, and becoming close to its leader, a man called Rashed.
Rezgui in his beloved Real Madrid replica football shirt
This group did indeed ruin Rezgui’s brain to the point that he came to believe that it was not only acceptable, but actually virtuous, to massacre helpless men, women and children as they enjoyed the simple, harmless pleasures of human existence.
There has been some confusion over the number of British victims, and you may have seen (at least) three different numbers. That is because the government said earlier 22 Brits were confirmed dead, while another 8 are feared dead. That indicates that the final number is likely to approach 30.
Based on statements from friends and relatives of the victims, we are now able to confirm the deaths of 25 Brits.
For more, please read our piece on what we know about those 25 victims, as well as those missing or wounded.
Four of the victims are confirmed to have been Scottish.
The family of Janet and John Stocker have released a statement, confirming that the couple from Crawley were killed in the attack.
It is with regret and great sadness that we can now confirm that our parents Janet and John Stocker have tragically lost their lives as a result of Friday’s atrocities.
We would like to thank all those that helped us with information in trying to locate them, and we appreciate the support and help that we have received from both the British and Tunisian people and authorities.
Mum and dad were the happiest, most loving couple who enjoyed life’s simple pleasures as well as the pleasures and love of their extensive family and their many friends, but most of all they were still very much in love with each other.
They were both young at heart and enjoyed all that life could offer, and especially enjoyed travelling to new places, exploring and appreciating local cultures, and they died together doing what they enjoyed most; sunbathing side by side.
Our father, 74, was retired printer, born and bred in Peckham and was a proud father of us 5 children and 10 grandchildren.
Our mother, 63, was born and raised with her two brothers in Fulham and was a fun-loving and devoted mother to us children, and loved nothing more than being than being around all of the grandchildren, as well as a best friend to anyone who knew and appreciated her kind, understanding and loving character.
They made a huge impact on our lives, and touched the hearts of so many people and they will both be sorely missed and never forgotten by the family and all that knew and loved them for all the reasons that made them so special as a couple, and as the two most honest and genuine people that they were.
We, the family, would now like to request that we are given some privacy so that we may grieve as a family and move forward at this difficult time, and trust that our wishes will be respected.
John Welch, 74, and Eileen Swannack, 70, have now been confirmed dead, according to the Bath Chronice. They were previously considered missing.
Eileen Swannack, 70 and her partner John Welch, 74 (Twitter)
The couple from Wiltshere had visited the resort in Sousse on multiple occasions. Mr Welch was a retired plumber.
A service will be held on Friday in the village of Biddlestone, to coincide with the national moment of silence.
Downing Street has now confirmed that at least 22 of the 38 people killed were British. It is feared that another 8 may have been British, which would bring the total to 30.
It appears that victim Chris Dyer posted a conversation with a friend who thought he had already returned from his holiday to Instragram on the morning of the attack. He told the friend he would still be in Tunisia until Wednesday, and that the trip had been “nice and relaxing”.
He also posted several pictures of himself and his wife on their holiday.
Chris Dyer, an 32-year-old engineer from Watford, is the latest victim identified in the attack.
His wife Gina Van Dort was severely wounded, but survived. She was reportedly found clutching her husband’s lifeless body.
A doctor said: “After we found Mrs Dyer she was touching her husband hugging. She didn’t want to leave him.”
Mr Dyer described himself on Instagram a a “Jiu Jitsu blue belt, ex marathon runner, engineer, full time Watford fan, MMA fan and biker.”
The Jiu Jitsu club that Mr Dyer was a member of posted on Twitter mourning his loss.
One of Tunisia’s top security officials says the gunman who killed 38 tourists, mostly Britons, in a beach attack was trained in neighbouring Libya at the same time as the attackers who targeted the Bardo museum in March.
Rafik Chelli told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Seifeddine Rezgui, a Master’s student in electrical engineering at Kairouan University, sneaked into Libya in January and trained near the western town of Sabratha.
Flowers on the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia (Steve Parsons/PA)
“It has been confirmed that the attacker trained in Libya with weapons at the same period as the Bardo attackers,” said Mr Chelli, the secretary of state for the Interior Ministry. “He crossed the borders secretly.”
Sabratha, also the site of famed Roman ruins, is known to contain training camps for jihadis. The March attack on the museum killed 22 people, mostly tourists.
Mr Stollery worked for the local authority for the past 33 years, and for the past 16 years was dedicated to helping children in care.
He was on holiday with his wife and son when he was killed.
The county council’s chief executive, Anthony May, said everyone at the authority was immensely saddened by the death of a much-loved and respected member of staff.
Mr May said: “As a dedicated social worker, he had a passion to help others that was apparent to everyone that he met.
“Our thoughts are with John’s family and all those affected by this terrible tragedy, including others from Nottinghamshire.
“John will be missed greatly.”
John Stollery, a 58-year-old social worker from Nottinghamshire, has been named by Nottinghamshire Council Council as a further victim of the Tunisia beach massacre.
In a statement his wife Cheryl said: “We, his family, are proud of him and deeply saddened that he was taken from us in such a horrific and tragic way.”
Prof Ian Robertson, a psychologist, has written for the Telegraph analysing how Seifeddine Rezgui – described as an ordinary boy who loved breakdancing and football team Real Madrid – could have been induced to massacre innocent people.
The methods used are the same as all cults have used for centuries, from the 12th century Persian and Syrian Assassins to the doomed followers of Jim Jones in 20th century America. These groups had to physically search out the vulnerable, groom them face to face, “love bomb” them, isolate them from their normal circles and then gradually desensitise them to more and more extreme ideas.
Rezgui’s indoctrinators used the power of social media to fast-track this process and embrace him into a murderous cult. They are doing this with thousands of vulnerable people in most countries of the world, grooming, isolating and desensitising them from a physical distance of thousands of miles, but a digital distance which is intimately face-to-face.
British police on Tuesday launched a major counter-terror exercise in London, held in a disused London Underground station at Aldwych in the West End theatre district.
Around 1,000 people including emergency medical services and transport workers are involved in the drill, which will continue on Wednesday.
Repatriations of Britons killed by a gunman in last week’s Tunisian beach massacre are expected to begin on Wednesday, Downing Street has said.
The Government is “working closely” with the families of those killed in Sousse, and has offered to arrange for the bodies of their loved ones to be flown by RAF plane to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire before being transported on to their home areas.
The repatriation process is expected to take a number of days.
All wounded Britons have now been brought back to the UK, with four severely injured holidaymakers flown home in an RAF C17 transport plane accompanied by “medevac” teams.
The four injured people are being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and St Mary’s Hospital in London, said Number 10.
Here is more from Richard Spencer, the Telegraph’s Middle East Editor, explaining the links between the Tunisia beach gunman Seifeddine Rezgui and terror groups in Tunisia:
The overall leader of Ansar al-Sharia [an umbrella grouping of hardline Islamists] in Tunisia is a long-term jihadi called Saifullah ben Hassine, who followed the common trail of like-minded Islamists by fighting in Afghanistan and then living in London, where he was an associate of the Jordanian Abu Qatada.
Among Ben Hassine’s claims to fame was leading the storming of the US embassy in Tunis on September 14, 2012. He is still at large.
However, as with other groups calling themselves Ansar al-Sharia across North Africa and Yemen, terror attacks are normally carried out by semi-autonomous subsidiaries which can declare allegiance to either al-Qaeda or Isil.
It has been reported that Ben Hassine was linked to Seifeddine Rezgui.
A victim of the terror attack in Sousse arrived at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital this morning for specialist treatment after being flown back home from Tunisia
A total of 21 Britons have been identified as victims of the Tunisian beach massacre and a further nine are believed to be among the dead, Downing Street has said.
Another of the casualties airlifted overnight is being treated at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust confirmed the patient had been admitted to the hospital, which is a designated major trauma centre.
An armed group in Tunisia which has claimed allegiance to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) tweeted a warning last month to British and western tourists not to go there for their summer holidays, writes our Middle East Editor Richard Spencer:
It said the warning was aimed at countries taking part in the coalition against Isil in Iraq and Syria.
“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 & Sham (sic),” it said. Sham is the word usually translated as “the Levant”.
“But if u insist on coming then beware because we are planning for u something that will make you forget #Bardoattack.”
The reference to the coalition is significant because one witness to the shootings said the attacker, Seifeddine Rezgui, told him to “get out of the way” as he was looking for “British, French”. Britain and France have both joined the coalition against Isil.
The Twitter account which made the threat belonged to a group called Ajnad al-Khilafa, which emerged in early April and has claimed responsibility for a number of terror attacks in Tunisia.
It originally gave its full name as Ajnad al-Khilafa de Kairouan, and identified itself as the media arm of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, an umbrella grouping of hardline Islamists. Kairouan is the holiest city in Tunisia as well as being the place where Rezgui studied.
Military personnel attend injured British nationals on board an RAF C-17 Aircraft en-route back to the UK:
MoD Crown Copyright/PA
Sgt Neil Bryden/EPA
Tunisia’s president says that a system of heightened security for the fasting month of Ramadan had been due to be implemented on July 1, before the beach attack that killed 38 tourists.
In an interview with Europe 1 radio on Tuesday, Beji Caid Essebsi said the security plan had been ready, but was not in place when a lone gunman attacked a beach resort on Friday.
“It’s true, we were surprised by the affair,” said Mr Essebsi, who was elected on promises to return security to the country. “The system of protection was set to start on July 1.”
Mr Essebsi said an inquiry had been opened into any security failures.
British tourists staying in the north African country have claimed they saw a second man carrying a gun and roaming the resort. One British witness has even claimed police admitted to him that they had shot dead a second killer.
Gordon Rayner has written a piece examining the evidence.
The Telegraph’s Hassan Morajea says he spoke to several witnesses at the resort who reported the same thing, but it turned out to be a security or policeman in civilian clothes.
Even after the attack, most the security were not wearing uniform. I can see how this might confuse people. There’s also been a report that some young locals took weapons off a scared police man and tried to help stop the gunman.
Mathew James, who used his body as a human shield to protect his fiancee, Saera Wilson, from the gunman, has released a statement of thanks for the “support and kind messages” the pair have received since returning to the UK.
Mathew, was hit in the shoulder, chest and hip as the gunman opened fire, is continuing to receive treatment at University Hospital of Wales and is expected to be hospital for a further two weeks.
The statement said:
We both feel its inappropriate to speak to the media about our ordeal until all of the British victims have been formally identified and repatriated back to the UK. We think it would be disrespectful to be talking openly about how lucky we are, when other families have lost so much.
Bronwyn Slater, 14, was on the beach with her father, Richard, and his partner, Maxine Midgely, when Seifeddine Rezgui attacked on Friday.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today about the experience, saying: “We just didn’t know where to go.”
Authorities in Tunisia are continuing to quiz seven suspected associates of the gunman. They have said Rezgui acted alone during the rampage but had accomplices who supported him before, providing him with weapons and logistical support.
British tourists staying in the north African country claimed they saw a second man carrying a gun and roaming the resort.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe says the public knows there can be no absolute guarantee on safety but insists the force is “putting our maximum efforts in to ensure that they are kept safe”.
The exercises are taking place at a disused underground station.
Sky News is reporting that the Tunisia gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, was part of a five-man terror cell that had been in existence for four years.
A university friend of Rezgui told Sky News that the attack was co-ordinated by Isil and that Rezgui was trained in Libya.
Wassim Bel-a-Del said:
In 2011 he was with [al-Qaeda affiliated] al-Nusra. Then when Daesh (Isil) started in Syria and Iraq he changed his allegiance and supported Daesh, and he loved everything they stood for.”
Seifeddine Rezgui photographed on the beach where he killed 38 people
A major exercise to test the emergency services and Government reponse to a terrorist attack is being held in central London today and tomorrow, called Operation Strong Tower.
Metropolitan Police says the “major live play exercise” has been planned since January, involving 14 different organisations.
Maxine de Brunner, deputy assistant commissioner, said:
The exercise scenario will test our tactical response including working with our emergency services partners, containing the situation, evacuating the injured and managing a crime scene.
We’ve carefully planned the live play elements of this exercise to make sure that any disruption to the public is kept to a minimum.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham has confirmed it is treating one patient airlifted from Tunisia. The hospital is one of the region’s major trauma centres with expertise in treating the most seriously injured patients, including service personnel wounded during the conflict in Afghanistan.
A spokesman for University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said: “A patient has been admitted to the QEHB following medical evacuation from Tunisia.
“The patient arrived at 12.45am today following transfer from Birmingham International Airport and is being assessed by the hospital’s multi-disciplinary team to determine their ongoing care pathway.
“The team is being coordinated by Professor Sir Keith Porter, the Trust’s clinical lead for trauma.”
Lead clinician Professor Sir Keith Porter told Sky News: “I can confirm that in the early hours of this morning we did receive a single patient back from Tunisia.
“At this stage I am not in a position to be able to tell you the extent of their injuries.”
A casualty from the attack at the Imperial Marhaba hotel leaving Sahloul hospital escorted by British medics on Monday (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Good morning and welcome back to our live blog, giving you the latest updates on the aftermath of the Tunisan terror attack. Here is a brief summary of what has been happening overnight:
• It has emerged that Seifeddine Rezgui, the gunman who massacred British tourists on the beach in Sousse, was inspired by a fanatic who ran a global terror network from London.
• Eyewitnesses have claimed the Tunisian beach massacre may have been carried out by more than one attacker. Rezqui, dressed in black, appeared to be alone in the video footage of the atrocity that has emerged so far.
• Tunisian authorities have held seven suspected associates of Rezgui. They believe that while he appeared to have acted alone, he may have had accomplices not present on the beach. The seven people in custody were arrested in at least three different cities and taken for questioning in the capital Tunis.
• Four British nationals seriously injured in the shooting have landed at Brize Norton in an RAF plane, after a brief stop at Birmingham Airport.
• A total of 38 people have died from the attack, including up to 30 Britons. So far 18 Britons have been formally identified.
• The Prime Minister told the Commons yesterday: “We will not give up our way of life or cower in the face of terrorism.”
• The Government is not advising Britons to stay away from Tunisia’s coastal resorts despite the bloody events at Sousse.
• A mock terrorist firearms attack is being staged in London today until tomorrow afternoon to test the emergency services’ ability to respond to a Tunisian-style mass shooting. Metropolitan Police insist that the “major live play exercise” has been prepared for since January, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
• Head to yesterday’s liveblog for a recap of the chain of events.
Survivors Richard Slater, Maxine Midgely and Bronwyn were on the beach when the attack happened. They have told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they saw a “little white aircraft” flying low. Richard said: “All of a sudden there was this bang”. He also revealed Tunisian authorities had told him two gunmen were shot dead. He belives more gunfire continued after seeing the body of one gunman, suggesting there were more gunmen on the beach.
Maxine said she saw two police on horses before the shooting began. “I was panicking because I didn’t know what was happening,” she said. She added they shouted to her: “Mrs, Mrs, get off beach they’re shooting”.
Bronwyn said: “I was proper spooked for my life”. He added he heard a lot of bangs from the gun fire and hand grenades while hiding in a shop nearby the beach.
It has emerged that the gunman who massacred British tourists on the beach in Sousse was inspired by a fanatic who ran a global terror network from London.
Seifeddine Rezgui’s mentor was Saifallah Ben Hassine, a founding leader of Ansar al-Sharia, the main terror group in Tunisia, it was reported.
Ben Hassine, 49, arrived in Britain in the late 1990s and became a follower of hate preacher Abu Qatada, who was then also based in London.
Court papers, seen by the Daily Mail, state Ben Hassine used Britain’s capital as his base for founding and running the “Tunisian Fighting Group” from 2000 onwards.
Injured British tourists landing in Birmingham
The British High Commission in Canberra has lowered its flag to half mast.
AFP reports that Tunisia has announced emergency measures to support its vital tourism sector after the country’s worst ever jihadist attack at a popular beach resort, which is expected to wipe $500 million off the economy.
Tourism Minister Selma Elloumi Rekik said the government would provide exceptional loans to help tourism businesses this year and next after Friday’s shooting, which killed 38 people and prompted thousands of holidaymakers to flee.
“If tourism collapses… the economy falls apart,” she said.
Here is our report on Reguzi’s links to Britain after it emerged that the gunman was inspired by a fanatic who ran a global terror network from London.
The Press Association reports that a 52-year-old man who flew to Tunisia with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary has been confirmed dead, his brother-in-law has said.
Philip Heathcote, who lived in Felixstowe, Suffolk, and was originally from Manchester, had been missing feared dead since Friday.
His wife, Allison Heathcote, 48, is in an induced coma after also being shot while on the beach at Sousse and family have flown out to be with her.
The couple were due to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary yesterday. Her brother Simon Boon read a statement to ITV Anglia saying: “I have spoken to my nephew, James, and Philip Heathcote has now been identified and confirmed as one of those who sadly died as a result of the shooting.
Philip originally comes from Manchester and I am sure his family living there will want to pay their own tributes. The thoughts of our family go out to them all as we, together, grieve this awful loss. For 30 years, Philip has shown my sister love, care and loyalty that was second to none. Philip was truly Allison’s soulmate and they did everything together, sharing the same interests life offered.”
Relatives of victim Carly Lovett, 24, have released a statement saying she was a “shining light” who radiated happiness to those around her. In the statement, the fiance and immediate family of Carly Lovett said they were praying that the “evil” seen in Tunisia would end to spare others the heartbreak they have experienced. The statement was issued through Lincolnshire Police on behalf of Carly’s parents, Joanne and Kev, her fiance Liam, sister Jordan, brother Daniel, stepfather John, stepmother Tracey, and stepbrothers Simon and Max.
Carly was and always will be our beautiful shining light. She was funny, clever, artistic and radiated love and happiness around her. Carly recently got engaged to Liam, her childhood sweetheart of 10 years. Both were excited and looking forward to a bright future together filled with love and happiness. This has now been cruelly taken away. To move forward through this we will try to do what we believe Carly would want and that is to love, cherish and support each other. The support received from family, friends and people we don’t know has been overwhelming and has been a great comfort to us all. Carly, may you soar with the angels and we pray with all our hearts that this evil, and such disregard for human life, will end so no other family will feel the pain that we do today and always will.”
Birmingham City Football Club has said it is “deeply shocked and saddened” by the death of one of its former players and his wife in Tunisia.
Former player Denis Thwaites and his wife Elaine are reported to have been killed in the terrorist attack on Friday.
Birmingham City FC tweeted labout the deaths of Mr and Mrs Thwaites.
The club said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of former player Denis Thwaites and his wife Elaine in the Tunisian terrorist attack.
“Our thoughts are with Denis’ family. The club also offers its condolences to all who are mourning loved ones due to this atrocity.”