Anguish, defiance in the UK after attacks

Friday 03/07/2015

LONDON - The United Kingdom react­ed with shock and defi­ance to the June 26th ter­rorist attack in Tunisia, in which 30 British tour­ists were killed by an Islamic State (ISIS) gunman, the largest loss of British life to terrorism since the 7/7 bombings of the London under­ground in 2005.
British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that Islamic ex­tremists “have declared war on Britain and they are attacking our people at home and overseas”.
In the wake of the attack, UK tour operators cancelled holidays to Tunisia and sent extra aeroplanes to the North African country to pick up tourists seeking to leave. Travel agents Thomson and First Choice cancelled all flights to Tu­nisia while the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned that more terrorist attacks in Tunisia were possible.
Local reports confirmed that Brit­ish and Western holidaymakers in Sousse rushed to the nearby Enfid­ha airport the day after the attack.
Saloua Kadria, Sousse’s tour­ism commissioner, said more than 3,000 foreign tourists, including approximately 2,200 Britons, left the town within 24 hours after the attack. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) said approxi­mately 20,000 Britons were on hol­iday in Tunisia at the time.
Some tourists defiantly remained in Sousse, organising a candlelight vigil on the beach on June 27th to honour the victims.
Holidaymakers and locals left tributes, including flowers and notes, at the scene of the attack. One note, written in German and English, asked simply: “Why?” Others read: “We are sorry” and “We will never forget you.”
Craig Reed, 42, from Wales, said he and his family had no intention of cutting their holiday short. “It’s just one idiot trying to wreck eve­rything for the Tunisians,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
James and Adele Hope Urwin also said they would stay and com­plete their holiday, with James Urwin saying he had been travel­ling through central London dur­ing the 7/7 attacks and that had not stopped him from returning to the city.
Survivors of the massacre praised the actions of Sousse locals, includ­ing hotel workers who reportedly formed a hu­man shield to protect tourists. One UK tour­ist, John Yeoman, on holiday with his wife at a nearby re­sort, tweeted that staff members had “saved many lives”.
In comments to the Independent, Yeoman’s wife said another cou­ple had told her the hotel staff were yelling, “You’ll have to get past us and we’re Muslim.” to the gunman. The bravery of the Tunisian hotel staff “makes you have a little more faith in humanity”, she said.