- Title: "Cowardly" Tunisian security let down beach attack victims - UK inquiry
- Date: 28th February 2017
- Summary: SOUSSE, TUNISIA (FILE - JUNE 26, 2015) (SHOT IN PORTRAIT) (VIDEO OBTAINED BY REUTERS) VARIOUS OF MEN RUNNING TOWARDS BEACH / SOUND OF GUNFIRE GUNMAN WALKING OUTSIDE TOWARDS THE BEACH GUNMAN IN DISTANCE WALKING ALONG SHORE OF BEACH
- Embargoed: 14th March 2017 17:39
- Keywords: tourists beach TUI attack Britain Sousse Tunisia coroner hotel gunman
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK / SOUSSE, TUNISIA / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UK / SOUSSE, TUNISIA / UNKNOWN LOCATION
- Country: Various
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA00165FPY6F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS FOOTAGE SHOT IN PORTRAIT
"Cowardly" Tunisian security forces let down the victims of a shooting at a beach hotel, making "deliberate and unjustifiable" delays in their journey to the scene, a UK inquiry found on Tuesday (February 28).
A gunman killed 30 Britons and eight others on a Tunisian resort in June 2015, having walked nearly two miles on his killing spree before being shot dead by security forces. Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Summing up after a six-week inquest, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith severely criticised the security forces, saying that their response had been "at best shambolic and at worst cowardly".
An inquest by Tunisian authorities was also critical of local security forces' response.
Loraine-Smith did however praise the "conspicuous personal courage" showed by some staff and guests and said neither the tour operator nor the hotel had been neglectful in the unlawful killings.
The British victims had booked their trips through Thomson Holidays, which is owned by TUI Group.
Families of those killed have been critical of TUI for not highlighting British government warnings around travel to Tunisia in their advertising for holidays, and not making it easier to cancel trips following a previous attack in Tunis.
Lawyer Irwin Mitchell, who represents 22 of the victims' families, said they would begin civil proceedings against TUI for damages.
The resort attack took place in Sousse, 140 km (87 miles) south of Tunis, three months after an attack on a museum in Tunis, with foreign tourists taken hostage.
Loraine-Smith said that TUI did not update their website following the Tunis attack, and the firm's phone operators did not direct concerned customers to the government's travel advice for Tunisia in the wake of the museum shooting.
TUI said in a statement "steps to raise awareness" of the government's travel advice had subsequently been taken.
In Britain, a coroner's inquest establishes the facts of an incident but does not assign legal blame or guilt.
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