Tunisia terror attacks: Memorial service for British victims

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Media captionThirty one Britons died in two separate attacks in Tunisia

The prime minister and Prince Harry have attended a memorial service to commemorate the British tourists killed in terror attacks in Tunisia last year.

Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists killed by a gunman at Port El Kantaoui in an attack on 26 June. A UK tourist was one of 22 killed in a separate attack at a museum in Tunis in March.

So-called Islamic State said it had been behind both attacks.

The service for survivors and victims' families was at Westminster Abbey.

David Cameron and Prince Harry both read Bible passages at the service, which was conducted by the Dean of Westminster.

The prince also laid a wreath on behalf of the Queen at Westminster Abbey's memorial to innocent victims.

Image caption 30 Britons were killed in the attack at the Tunisian resort of Port El Kantaoui
Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Harry laid a wreath at Westminster Abbey's memorial to innocent victims
Image copyright Sky News
Image caption Prime Minister David Cameron was among those attending the service
Image copyright Sky News
Image caption Prince Harry gave a reading

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner also gave a speech, in which he spoke about being shot six times in June 2004 in a terror attack that left him paralysed from the waist down.

He told the service: "I do share a great affinity with all of you here today because I've known first-hand what it's like to look into those cold, dead eyes of the killers and to be at the wrong end of a smoking pistol."

Tunisia resort attack: What happened

  • At approximately 11:30am local time, gunman Seifeddine Rezgui pulled a Kalashnikov from a parasol he was carrying and opened fire on the beach outside the five-star Hotel Rui Imperial Marhaba
  • He threw explosives at the pool area and then continued shooting inside the hotel reception
  • Rezgui was filmed running past the neighbouring Hotel Riu Bellevue and up a side alley, still armed with his gun and at least one other grenade
  • He was shot and killed by police in a nearby street at around 12:30pm
  • Thirty-eight people were killed in the attack, including 30 Britons, three Irish nationals, two Germans, one Belgian, one Portuguese and one Russian, with many more injured
  • The so-called Islamic State (IS) said it had been behind the attack

Read more about what happened during the attack

Tunisia attack: The British victims

Debbie Horsfall, from Huddersfield, attended the memorial with her friend, Ellie Makin.

She told the BBC the pair, who are both 23, had been sunbathing on the beach where the attack happened. She heard what she had thought were fireworks or a car backfiring.

Image copyright Debbie Horsfall
Image caption Debbie Horsfall (L) and Ellie Makin were sunbathing when the attack in Port El Kantaoui happened

"It was my friend [Ellie] who saw him and shouted, 'Run, there's someone with a gun,'" she said.

"When she shouted I didn't think twice, I just ran. We didn't have any idea what was going on.

"I had no idea whether there were any casualties. We were just fighting for our own lives."

The pair returned to their hotel where they waited until they learned the gunman had been killed. It was only later they learned of all the people who had been murdered.

"I think it's important to remember that so many people lost their lives," Ms Horsfall said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sally Adey was among 22 people killed at the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia

"It's really important that we remember that although some made it, there were those who didn't."

She added that she and Ms Makin would not have gone to the memorial without each other.

"We were there together, we went through it together, so anything that happens in relation to the attack we'll do together."

Samantha Richards, 43, from Northwich in Cheshire, attended the service with her two sons, Thomas, 22, and Callum, 17.

The trio were forced to flee the beach when the gunman opened fire, and both Mrs Richards and her eldest son were later injured by shrapnel from a grenade blast inside the hotel.

Of the service, Mrs Richards said: "It will never go away, it will always be here but it was just nice to remember it today and those people that died."

Sally Adey, 57, from Caynton in Shropshire, was among the 22 people killed in the separate attack at the Bardo National Museum on 18 March last year.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thirty-eight tourists were killed near the resort of Sousse on 26 June
Image copyright TUI
Image caption The attack at the resort of Port El Kantaoui took place by the Hotel Rui Imperial Marhaba

Police have previously said there were "strong links" between the two attacks.

Last month it was announced that inquests into the deaths of the 30 Britons killed at Port El Kantaoui would be pushed back to next year.

The inquests had been due to begin in November this year but judge and coroner Nicholas Loraine-Smith said there was "an enormous amount of work to be done".

Image caption Map showing route gunman took as he ran through the hotel and then back out to the beach before running up a side alley.

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