A Tunisian investigative judge has charged six security guards with failing to help tourists under attack during the 2015 massacre at a beach resort in Sousse, a counter-terrorism official has said.
The details were revealed after a British inquiry on Tuesday found Tunisian security forces had let down the victims of the shooting, making “deliberate and unjustifiable” delays in their journey to the scene.
One gunman killed 30 Britons and eight others at the resort before security forces shot him dead. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sofian Sliti, a spokesman for judicial counter-terrorism investigations, said six security guards from the Imperial Marhaba hotel had been charged with failing to help people in danger, in a manner that caused their deaths.
All six remained free pending investigation, he said. Another 14 people have been arrested in the investigation and another 12 are also under investigation.
Concluding a seven-week inquest, British judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith criticised Tunisian security forces, saying their response had been “at best shambolic and at worst cowardly”.
An inquest by Tunisian authorities was also critical of the security forces’ response.
Tunisian officials said the gunman, a young Tunisian, had trained at a jihadi camp in neighbouring Libya before returning to carry out the attack. He opened fire on tourists on the beach and made his way through the hotel before he was shot outside.
Speaking at the end of the inquest, the families of the British victims said on Monday they have been left “unable to rest or move on”, and vowed to sue the tour operator.
The relatives of 22 of the victims urged Thomson Holidays’ owner Tui to put “safety before a sale” after the coroner ruled that the victims were unlawfully killed – but said he could not rule that neglect by the tour operator played a part.
The attack resulted in the greatest loss of British life in a single incident since the 7 July 2005 bombings in London. Tui, with which all 30 Britons who were killed booked their holidays, came under significant scrutiny during the inquest over its handling of Foreign Office travel advice for Tunisia as well as security deficiencies at the hotel.
On Wednesday a Tunisian official provoked anger by suggesting the country had suffered more from the attack, in which a total of 38 people died, due to its impact on tourism.
Lazhar Akremi told the Times: “You lost 30 people. But the suffering is bigger for the Tunisian people. I mean, the reputation of the country was ruined, tourism was destroyed, also the 30 were our guests. They were killed while they were our guests.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen told the newspaper: “While I have great sympathies for the economic damage done by the attack, for [him] to claim that that damage is greater than the loss of 30 British lives will do nothing to convince people that their security will be taken seriously. I call him to retract the statement for the maintenance of Anglo-Tunisian relations.”
Source: /The Guardian