Tunisia terror attack victims' families raise concerns over warnings


Families of the Tunisia terror attack victims have raised concerns about warnings for travellers amid appeals for the Government to reduce the threat level.

Relatives of some of the 30 Britons gunned down on the resort of Sousse in June last year fear not enough was done to alert holidaymakers of the terror risk.

The Tunisian ambassador to the UK has urged the Foreign Office to relax its current advice, which warns against all but essential travel to the North African country.

Andrew Ritchie QC, who represents 17 families, said the Foreign Office had potentially failed to require holiday companies to warn Britons of the dangers.

Travel agents allegedly lowered their prices to try and "entice" more Britons to Tunisia, after 24 people were killed in a terror attack at Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis in March 2015.

Foreign Office advice for travellers in June 2015 stated: "There is a high risk from terrorism, including kidnapping. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

"This had only been produced online but we are going to consider, in light of future evidence, whether Her Majesty's Government should have imposed a duty of candour on the travel companies," Mr Ritchie said at a pre-inquest hearing into the deaths.

He said travel agents, including Thompson's parent company TUI, had informed the Foreign Office that they intended to use "reduced pricing strategies for further tourists to be enticed to Tunisia following the Bardo attack".

He added: "Her Majesty's Government and the Foreign Office cannot be unaware that TUI did not mention, refer to or summarise the terrorism threat in Tunisia either online or in hard copy."

Howard Stevens QC, representing TUI, said the company "will not accept the assertion made in relation to the pricing strategies".

"It will not accept either the suggestion that TUI was under obligation to refer to the Foreign Office advice on its website or literature," he added.

Andrew O'Connor QC, representing the Government, said: "We do not accept what might be thought to be any implied criticism of the Foreign Office or any other Government bodies."

A pre-inquest hearing was held today at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London to deal with the scope of the inquests and timetabling of the next steps in the procedure.

The bloody attack by Seifeddine Rezguion on June 26 2015, claimed a total of 38 lives, with terror group Islamic State (IS) claiming responsibility.

The Tunisian ambassador to the UK, Nabil Ammar, has called on the UK government to take into account security improvements that have been made over the last 12 months.