Middle East

UK sets Tunisia beach attack inquest for next year or early 2017

A British inquest into the deaths of 30 holidaymakers killed in June's beach attack in Tunisia will take place late next year or early in 2017, the coroner leading the investigation said at an initial review on Tuesday.
The massacre at a hotel in Sousse on the Mediterranean coast was the biggest loss of British lives in such an incident since the July 2005 bombings in London.
Nicholas Loraine-Smith, a senior judge acting as coroner promised a "full, fair and fearless" investigation into the deaths. The initial scope of his investigation would include looking at the adequacy of travel advice provided by Britain's foreign office and travel companies, as well as the incident itself and post-mortem investigations.
Many of the victims were on holiday with Thomson, part of travel giant TUI Group, which was named by the judge as an interested party in the case.
Separately, a group of 15 families who lost loved ones in the attack and a number of victims who survived have started legal action against TUI for allegedly failing to provide adequate security at the hotel.
Two weeks after the attack, Britain warned that another attack in Tunisia was "highly likely" and travel operators cancelled holidays there.
They are yet to resume, amid a bleak picture for travel security elsewhere with flights to the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from the UK halted in November after the downing of a Russian jet and after Friday's Paris attack which killed at least 129 people.
Earlier on Tuesday, a Tunisian official said a cell of 17 Islamist militants had been arrested, preventing another major assault on hotels and security forces in Sousse planned for this month.
Tunisia is conducting its own inquest into the Sousse attacks and Loraine-Smith said he was in contact with the Tunisian judge and expected to receive material from him in December.
The judge set a second pre-inquest review for January 21 and said that the inquest proper would begin on either October 31 next year or on January 9, 2017.

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