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Many Europeans killed in the attack in Sousse in Tunisia (Maj4)

The coverage of the Daily Mirror devoted to the victims of the attack in Sousse
Daily Mirror coverage dedicated to victims of the Sousse attack

(BRUSSELS2) The attack in Sousse on Friday (26 June) in a tourist spot popular with foreigners (the Imperial hotel) caused 38 dead and as many injured according to the latest report. Occurring in the middle of a European summit, when another attack had just taken place near Lyon in a Seveso-classified company, this new event initially took a back seat.

But it turns out to be one of the latest major attacks for Europeans especially for the UK. Among the victims are a big majority of Britons (about thirty according to the latest report given by the Foreign Office on Sunday) as well as 1 Belgian, 1 German, 1 Irish, 1 Portuguese. Most of the ministries concerned in Europe have opened an emergency line to inform families.

Kalashnikov shooting

The author, a Tunisian student, mingled with tourists – according to initial information – before taking out his weapon (an AK47) hidden under a parasol. He shot at tourists sunbathing on the beach for several minutes, apparently deliberately targeting foreigners. A former British soldier, a Gurkha, passed a few meters from the shooter, being miraculously spared, he said in a British newspaper (Read the report from the BBC).

A majority of Britons

At least 15 Britons have died, announced the Foreign Office, according to a latest report released on Saturday. And this record could still increase »said the Minister for North Africa, Tobias Ellwood. Because approximately 25 Britons were injured. A COBRA (a special council of ministers in charge of security) has been convened. " This is the most significant attack on British citizens since 7/7 », July 7, 2005, the day of the London attack. “ This highlights the ongoing threat from ISIL. »

British Consular Mobilization

The British have a consular team on the ground in Sousse » and two other rapid intervention teams are moving during the night, indicated the Minister of Foreign Affairs. “ We are working with the Tunisian authorities to understand the measures taken in response to this incident and also the strengthening of security in the region. ". Other contacts have been made with other countries concerned, “ especially the German authorities who have a large number of tourists in the region ».

Other Europeans have died

One of the 4 injured Belgians died of his injuries, confirmed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. An Irish woman also died but other Irish people could be injured, says the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to the daily Irish Times.

At least one German has been identified among the victims, another is injured. The other injured are: 7 Tunisians, 1 Ukrainian, and 1 Russian.

The presence of French victims has for the moment been ruled out, said Laurent Fabius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the end of a restricted council on Saturday. “ At this stage, there are no French victims identified but we must remain very cautious given the circumstances. ».

Comment: A British line change

This event could signify a change in the United Kingdom's policy on European police and judicial cooperation. In the same way as in 2005, after the attacks in London, it could lead to a strengthening of European cooperation methods and thus put a stop to the attempts to distance London from justice and internal affairs policy. of the EU. This will probably not change the substance of the referendum. This should adjust British demands on this issue.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Crisis line (family, consular information)

  • France: +33 1 43 17 56 46
  • Belgium: +322 501 8111
  • UK: +44 20 7008 0000
  • Germany: +49 30 5000 3000
  • Ireland: +353 1 408 2000
Flags fly at half mast at the Foreign Office on Sunday (Credit: FCO)
Flags fly at half mast at the Foreign Office on Sunday (Credit: FCO)

(Updated: Saturday 27.6 9 a.m. / 13 ​​p.m. / 20 p.m. + Sun 23 p.m. with an assessment revised upwards several times for the British, the details of the assessment for the Belgians and Irish, a comment from Laurent Fabius on the presence of French – and the telephone numbers of the crisis centers of the various foreign ministries.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).