British tourists who survived the Tunisia terror attack in 2015 are suing the UK’s largest tour operator TUI, which sold packages for the beach hotel targeted by militants.
More than 50 people who suffered injuries in the attack three years ago, as well as the families of 22 of the victims, have instructed the law firm Irwin Mitchell to take action against the tour operator for failing to provide customers with adequate security and information on the risk of travel.
“Many are still suffering from psychological injuries after witnessing the horrific attack, with some having comforted family members fatally wounded,” the firm said. “The legal case centres on security at the hotel; what was known about previous attacks in Tunisia and the lack of information presented to customers both at the time of booking and when the situation may have changed regarding travel advice.”
Some 30 British customers of TUI were killed 26 June 2015 after lone gunman Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on holidaymakers, killing some 38 people in total, before he was shot dead by police. The attack was the deadliest on British citizens since the bombings in London on 7 July 2005.
However, three months earlier, 20 tourists had died in a terror attack on one of Tunisia’s leading cultural collection, the Bardo Museum in Tunis. Despite the UK Foreign Office warning of a “high threat from terrorism” at the time, customers of TUI say they were unaware of the risk.
“Neither TUI’s 2015 written brochure or their 2015 website informed them of the content of the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] travel advice before they booked their holidays,” said the law firm.
The lawsuit follows a seven-week inquest in 2017, which found that British victims had been “unlawfully killed”, but a coroner rejected a finding of neglect against tour firms and the hotel.
However, Irwin Mitchell hopes the latest civil proceedings will result in damages being awarded for clients.
Tunisia has occupied a continuous state of emergency since the 2011 uprising, which toppled the 24-year long regime of the former President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Late November 2015, the country entered a second state of emergency following a terrorist attack which targeted a presidential security bus in central Tunis, leaving about 30 dead and wounded.
This year 105,000 British holidaymakers are expected to visit Tunisia, down from over half a million tourists prior to the 2015 attack.