Crime

Massacre of Britons in Tunisia- one of the largest counter terrorism deployments seen since July 2005

Sousse, Tunisa. Image: Google Maps.

Sousse, Tunisa. Image: Google Maps.

The UK national policing response to the terrorist murder of holiday Britons in Tunisia has been described as ‘one of the largest counter terrorism deployments seen since July 2005.’

Official sources are now informing the media that 30 out of the 38 victims were British.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have expressed their shock and condolences to the families of those grieving for the deaths of loved ones.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for counter terrorism, said:

The operation currently involves over 600 officers and staff and is being coordinated from the National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ at New Scotland Yard. Because of the scale of the attack, the numbers of fatalities and the international nature of it, it is likely that several hundred counter terrorism and other police officers and staff will be working on this case for some time.

Since Friday evening, over 380 counter terrorism and local officers have been at British airports to meet and support travellers returning from Tunisia to help identify potential witnesses. On Saturday, officers met 27 flights and there will be similar levels of activity today, including taking detailed statements from many witnesses to support the UK coronial process.

The Queen has released the statement saying:

Prince Philip and I were shocked to learn of the attack on British tourists in Tunisia on Friday.
We send our sincere condolences to the families of those who were killed and our deepest sympathy to the people who are still fighting for their lives in hospital, and those who have been seriously injured.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those of all countries who have been affected by this terrible event.

Assistant Commissioner Rowley added:

Officers will remain at the airports to meet more returning citizens as and when they come home.

We have already deployed a team of 16 officers to Tunisia, including senior detectives and specialist forensic officers from New Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, as well as family liaison officers. All were deployed within hours of the attack and will be joined by more specialist CT officers in the coming days.

In Britain, large numbers of officers are supporting our international response to the attack. This includes 60 family liaison officers who are with relatives in the UK of those killed and injured. These highly experienced FLOs will be supporting victims and their families as part of the police investigation.

As our inquiries continue I would like to reiterate our appeal for anyone who was in Sousse, Tunisia around the time of the attack on Friday, 26 June to come forward with information or material that could help with our inquiries. We also ask for those families who require police family liaison support to contact us.

If you were there and you may have information that could help, please contact the confidential anti-Terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

The 23 year old gunman, Seifeddine Rezgui, lies dead in an alleyway after being shot by Tunisian security forces. He came from the town of Gaafour in the Siliana region about 100 miles from Sousse.

Rezgui was a master’s student at a Tunisian university and there are reports he had been radicalized by ISIS/ISIL propaganda in recent years.

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