Last month it was announced that victims of the 2015 Tunisia terror attack along with relatives of those who died have raised civil proceedings against the holiday firm TUI UK Limited. The families of 22 people who died in the Sousse atrocity as well as 50 people who suffered injuries such as gunshot or shrapnel wounds or were hurt fleeing the attacker are taking the company to court.
On 26 June 2015 38 people were murdered, including 30 from the UK and dozens more suffered life changing injuries when gunman Seifeddine Rezgui using a Kalashnikov assault rifle hidden in a beach umbrella opened fire at the five star Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the popular resort of Port El Kantaoui.
Last year an inquest into the deaths of the British victims found that they had been “unlawfully killed” but Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith rejected a finding of neglect against tour firms and the hotel. However he did rule that the response of the Tunisian police was “at best shambolic and at worst cowardly.”
The legal case centres on the alleged lack of information provided to their customers by the tour operator regarding the threat level in Tunisia. No warnings appear to have been given despite the facts that in October 2013 there had been a failed suicide bomb attempt outside a beach hotel in Sousse and in March 2015 there was an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis killing 22 people. Many of the families were also not made aware of the travel advice issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office which warned of a “high threat from terrorism” in Tunisia in 2015.
The security at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel is also been called into question. Given the heightened security risk it is alleged that the tour operator should have audited the adequacy of security at the hotel. It is alleged that there was no procedure in place for the security guards at the hotel to follow in the event of a terrorist attack, along with limited CCTV coverage compared to nearby hotels. There were also a number of other security measures which were inadequate such as gates and perimeter fences.
Mat James from Pontypridd Wales was shot multiple times while protecting his girlfriend during the attack and needed several operations on his leg.
He said “The horrible attack was obviously life-changing for so many people. Even now a few years on my injuries are still affecting me.”
“We can never forget what happened and I’m lucky to be alive, but hopefully by taking legal action everyone involved can get the help and support we need to aid our recoveries as much as possible”.
A TUI spokesman said “We remain truly saddened by what happened on that fateful day in Sousse in June 2015 when 30 of our customers lost their lives in a terrorist attack which started on a public beach. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by the horrific incident.”
“As this is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage except to say we will fully cooperate with the judicial process.”