The massacre, in which 30 British tourists lost their lives, was the deadliest terrorist attack on British citizens since the London Tube bombings in 2005. The other victims were from the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Russia and Portugal.
The attack occurred in June 2015 at the tourist resort of Port El Kantaoui, about 10 kilometres north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia.
According to Samantha Leek QC, counsel to the inquest, a report by Tunisian Judge Akremi had identified failings by local units that could have stopped the massacre before other police eventually arrived and shot the gunman dead.
"He said the units that should have intervened in the events deliberately and unjustifiably slowed down to delay their arrival at the hotel,” Leek said. "They had the ability to put an end to the attack before the police arrived but wasted a considerable amount of time in getting to the hotel."
The inquest also heard that tour operators wanted to increase security at the resort prior to the attack but were concerned tourists would be frightened if they saw an ‘army of police’. The hearing was told that the idea of increasing police security and how it could make tourists feel ‘uncomfortable’ was discussed at official meetings a month before the attack.
It has been reported that UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials knew security at hotels in the resort was too weak to stop a terrorist attack, months before the massacre occurred. The FCO did not raise its threat level warning to embargo travel to the country, despite a deadly attack targeting tourists at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis in March of the same year.
The current advice from the FCO was updated on 19 January 2017 to extend a state of emergency status until at least 19 February 2017. Thomas Cook has cancelled all holidays to Tunisia up until at least 24 May 2017.
The FCO warns that the threat from terrorism in Tunisia is high and that further attacks remain likely. “Security forces remain on a high state of alert in Tunis and other locations,” states the FCO website. “You should be vigilant, avoid crowded places and follow the advice of the Tunisian security authorities and your travel company, if you have one.”