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Friday 9 December 2016

At least 27 dead, six injured after attack at Tunisia tourist destination - official

Scene of attack in Tunisia. Photo: Twitter/ MouradTeyeb
Scene of attack in Tunisia. Photo: Twitter/ MouradTeyeb

This afternoon at least 27 people were reported to have been killed following an attack at a coastal tourist destination in Tunisia.

Tunisian officials are reporting the deaths after the shooting on a beach in the popular tourist area of Sousse.

Sousse, on the east coast of Tunisia (Photo: Google Maps) Open Gallery 2 Sousse, on the east coast of Tunisia (Photo: Google Maps)

It is also being reported that a gunman has been killed after fire exchange with officers.

The attack is believed to have occurred between Hotel Bellevue and the Royal Kenzo Hotel.

The Department of Foreign Affairs say they are 'not aware' of any Irish citizens involved in the incident.

It is believed that six different nationalities are among the fatalities.

The resort is particularly popular with Irish and British tourists.

A man at the scene told Sky News that tourists on the beach saw a gunman on the beach before they heard gunshots and everybody started 'running in and screaming'.

Tourists reported to be locked into their hotel rooms after the attack and were not sure of the emergency process.

Irishwoman Elizabeth O'Brien is holidaying in the area with her two sons.

Speaking to RTE Radio One's News At One, she said she initially thought it was fireworks: “I just heard rapid firing, I thought it was fireworks, it sounds like gunfire.

“I ran to the sea and grabbed my kids and our things and, as I was running towards the hotel, the security on the beach started shouting ‘Run, run’.

“We ran to our room and now we are trapped in our room, the phone here doesn’t work to contact reception . The consul said there was a terrorist attack in the hotel next door, he told me to stay put, my travel agent said to go to the reception to speak to the rep , but I’m afraid so I’m stuck here in the room with my two sons.

“The agent said the attack was isolated to the hotel next door. The consul told me it was a terror attack.

“I just ran as soon as I heard the noise , I just thought of the museum incident a few months ago.”

At least sixty Irish people travelled to Tunisia with one travel company this week.

The Department of Foreign Affairs told Independent.ie they are not aware of any Irish citizens involved in the incident and have issued an 'Urgent Travel Alert'.

"Our Embassy in Madrid and our Honorary Consul in Tunis are monitoring the situation in Sousse, Tunisia and are providing updates," a spokesperson told Independent.ie.

"We are currently not aware of any Irish citizens involved in the incident.

"Anyone with concerns about family or friends can call the Department on 01 408 2000."

The Department of Foreign Affairs have now issued an 'Urgent Travel Alert' following the shooting.

They said they are 'strongly advising' holidaymakers to follow the advice of the Tunisian authorities and to maintain contact with your tour organiser.

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