The remarkable bravery shown by Tunisians during the Sousse beach attack – Adam Taylor/The Washington Post
(more videos inside article)
In the aftermath of last week’s attack on a tourist resort in Sousse, Tunisia — a mass shooting that left at least 38 people, mainly tourists, dead — there has been one recurring glimmer of positivity: the bravery shown by hotel staff and others during the attack.
The video above, obtained by Sky News, is proof of just how remarkable that bravery was. As attacker Seifeddine Rezgui runs through the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba shooting, a local man employed by the hotel films himself running toward him.
When the cameraman realizes he is close to Rezgui, he even picks up a bottle to use as a weapon. At the end of the video, the cameraman and others chase Rezgui, who is still armed, putting themselves at considerable risk.
Another video, which seems to have been shot from the roof of the hotel, appears to show hotel staffers as they chase the gunman. Toward the end of the video, the cameraman and others on the roof try to find objects to throw at Rezgui as he runs below.
Away from the beach, more locals tried to help. Channel 4 News spoke to one builder who says he threw tiles at Rezgui from a nearby rooftop. Moncef Mayel said his tiles knocked the gunman to the floor. “All I did was my duty, the duty of any Tunisian and any Muslim,” he said.
These videos fit with multiple descriptions of the response from Tunisians to Friday’s attack. One British survivor named John Yeoman said hotel staff had formed a ‘human shield’ to protect vacationers, apparently hoping that the gunman would not target fellow Muslims.
A Twitter user who said he was staying at a nearby hotel agreed with Yeoman and further praised the response of the hotel staff.
John Carter, a British tourist, told the Hull Daily Mail that his life and many others had been saved by quick-thinking hotel staffers, who hid him and his wife in a laundry room.
“They were getting British people, putting them in rooms and chaining the rooms up with locks and they stood there with knives. They were throwing bricks at him,” Carter explained. “In that hotel, the staff saved hundreds of lives. We are home, some of them aren’t.”
The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State, and the way it was executed appears to have been clearly designed to help destroy Tunisia’s tourism industry. The attack came just months after 22 tourists were fatally shot at the Bardo museum, another high-profile attack aimed at the tourism sector. Some wonder whether the country’s democratic transition can remain on track.
However, many around the world have few doubts about the courage shown by the Tunisians while confronted by a rampaging gunman.