Africa

Relatives of Tunisia gunman 'horrified' by beach massacre

This image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State, posted on Saturday, purports to show the Tunisian gunman, whom Islamic State referred to by a nom de guerre - Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani Image copyright AP
Image caption Islamic State has published a photo of the alleged gunman

In the Tunisian village of Jaafour, where the man who is widely alleged to have carried out the attack in Sousse was born and bred, there is shock and distress.

The Tunisian, whom Islamic State have named as Abu Yahya al-Qayrawani, lived in Jaafour until he was 19 or 20. He then went off to university at Kairouan but continued to visit the village regularly.

Officials said his name was Seifeddine Rezgui. He was shot dead by police after the attack on Friday.

His parents and sister and all of his close friends have been detained for questioning, but an uncle and a cousin in the village were both visibly extremely upset and shocked.

They seemed to have been pretty much traumatised by the news that it was their relative who carried out this deadly attack.

No warning

They said they had seen him literally two or three days before the event and that there was nothing in his behaviour to indicate he had been radicalised or that he was about to carry out an attack.

It seems that just the day before the attack, on Thursday, he was in Jaafour and he had his beard shaved off, presumably the better to make his way onto the beach without arousing suspicion.


Victims of the attack

  • 38 killed and at least 36 injured
  • The dead include 15 Britons. Some of the victims were named by local sources as Carly Lovett, Adrian Evans and his nephew Joel Richards
  • Also among the dead are one Belgian, one German and one citizen of the Irish Republic

Fifteen Britons among the dead


Everybody we talked to in Jaafour, whether his family or just fellow villagers, said he was just a very normal man - he prayed like other people here, he fasted like other people here, but he showed no signs at all of extremism.

The tendency in the village is to blame Kairouan - the big town where he went off to study.

Relatives believe he may been radicalised there but managed to hide it until he carried out this attack, leaving people in the village more shocked than they can say.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The town of Kairouan where the gunman may have been radicalised