29 June 2015
Muslim hotel staff and locals formed a human chain of resistance as gunman Seifeddine Rezgui unleashed death and horror along the Tunisian shoreline, according to reports.
The chain of defenders can be seen in images taken of killer Seifeddine Rezgui which emerged yesterday - about a dozen men stand side-by-side as the gunman, pictured in the foreground, marches away from them carrying his Kalashnikov.
It is just one of many incredible tales of survival to emerge in the aftermath of the deadly attack in which British survivors have described playing dead as Rezgui 'executed' wounded tourists.
Multiple witnesses have told media that the people previously described as "horrified onlookers" were in fact a group of brave resort workers and locals, who formed a "human barricade" to protect holidaymakers in the city of Sousse.
As Rezgui stalked tourists on the beach with his Kalashnikov rifle, one hotel chef who joined the resistance was apparently warning him: "You'll have to get past us and we're Muslims."
At least 39 people, mostly British nationals, were killed in Friday's attack, for which Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Rezgui had pledged his allegiance to IS in video materials.
The coastline around Sousse is a tourist hotspot, and tourists were Rezgui's targets.
A British man on vacation at the beach,Ian Symes, wrote: "Iwas on beach at Palm marina - whilst we were running to hide, hotel staff were running out to help, very brave," wrote.
A report in the British Telegraph newspaper identified jet-ski merchant Ibrahim el Ghoul as a local hero who had thrown stones at Rezgui.
According to the report, the 18-year-old ran up the beach towards where the attack was taking place, trying to bundle fleeing tourists into a boat before going after Rezgui on a jet-ski.
"The first thing I thought was: 'This is my work and I have to protect the guests,' " Mr el Ghoul told the paper.
Confronted by an armed Rezgui, he shielded four British tourists in his arms and yelled "Allahu Akbar", which prompted the terrorist to lower his gun, Mr el Ghoul said.
"Then I decided to go after him. So I took a jet-ski and caught up to where he was. He walked about five metres and stopped, turned around and said: 'I am not here to kill you. Turn around and go home.' That was the last thing I heard from him."
Born and bred in the seaside city of Sousse, Mr el Ghoul told the Telegraph he was not a hero.
"This was what I had to do," he said. "I love my country so much."
Michael Koziol"Tunisians formed human barricade to protect beach terror victims: reports" The Sydney Morning Herald June 29, 2015
Corey Charlton, "'You must kill us first, but we're Muslim': Tourist reveals how hotel workers formed 'human shield' to stop gun maniac shooting more dead as Britons tell how they played dead to survive" The Daily Mail UK June 28, 2015