An inquest into the murder of 30 Britons in a June terrorist attack on a Tunisian beach will look at the prior travel advice given by the U.K. government and travel companies as the country tightens security after the rampage in Paris.
The hearings into the deadliest attack against Britons since 2005 will determine how each of the victims was killed, Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith said at the opening session. The full inquest isn’t likely to take place until late 2016 at the earliest, lawyers said.
“I understand many of you have lost loved ones and would never have wished to be in this situation,” Loraine-Smith said addressing the bereaved families present in court. “I am determined that the loved ones who so tragically lost their lives are at the heart of this inquest.”
On June 26 Seifiddine Rezgui, also known as Abu Yahya al- Qayrawani, walked onto the Tunisian beach resort in Sousse and opened fire on tourists, killing 38 people before being shot by security forces. Tuesday’s hearing comes as the French government gets to grips with another deadly attack on its citizens by Islamic militants.
At least 129 people were killed in Paris last week by several gunmen, triggering a manhunt across the country and Belgium. The U.K. further tightened its security in the wake of the attacks, placing armed police around a soccer match in London between England and France.
Loraine-Smith paid tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks at the start of the London hearing.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been bereaved,” he said. “Nobody will understand better than you what the families and friends of the victims will be going through.”
A British police investigation into the Tunisian attack has already taken some 600 witness statements, identified around 2,000 eye witnesses and obtained mobile phone footage of the incident, the judge said. A Tunisian investigation into all aspects of the attack is being headed up by Judge Bechir Akremi and will provide the inquest with some of its evidence.
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