(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 first passed into the background.
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.
The author, a Tunisian student, mingled with tourists - according to initial information - before taking out his weapon (an AK47) hidden under an umbrella. He shot at the tourists who were sunbathing on the beach, for long minutes, aiming - it seems - deliberately at the foreigners. A former British soldier, a Gurkha, thus passed a few meters from the shooter, being miraculously spared, he told 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 about 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 on July 7, 2005, the day of the London bombing. " 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 in 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 Belgians injured, died of his injuries confirmed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. An Irish woman also died but other Irish people could be injured, the Irish Foreign Office says, 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 is for the moment 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 identified French victims but we must remain very careful given the circumstances. ».
Comment: A British line change
This event could mean a change in UK 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 methods of European cooperation and thus put a brake on any attempts to distance London from justice and home affairs policy of the EU. This will probably not change the substance of the referendum. This should settle the British claims on this issue.
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
(Updated: Saturday 27.6 9 a.m. / 13 p.m. / 20 p.m. + Sun 23 p.m. with a balance sheet revised upwards several times for the British, the detail of the balance sheet for the Belgians and Irish, a comment by Laurent Fabius on the presence of French - and the telephone numbers of the crisis centers of the various ministries of foreign affairs