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Tunisia terror: Is this the mastermind behind the Bardo Museum attack which killed Shropshire woman Sally Adey?

Telford | News | Published:

This is the man believed to have masterminded two Tunisian terror attacks at a beach and in a museum which killed a Shropshire woman and three members of a Midlands family.

The attack on the Bardo Museum. Insets: A terrorist known as Chamseddine al-Sandi (left) and Shifnal woman Sally Adey

An international manhunt is now under way for the Isis terrorist named as Chamseddine al-Sandi who is understood to be hiding in neighbouring Libya.

He is believed to have been responsible for the Bardo Museum attack in Tunis in March 2015, which killed 57-year-old retired solicitor Sally Adey, from Caynton, near Shifnal.

Walls riddled with bullets at the Bardo Museum in Tunis

Al-Sandi was named as the ringleader of a Tunisian Isis terror cell in confessions by the men arrested over the Bardo attack obtained by the BBC's Panorama programme.

Kalashnikov-wielding Seifeddine Rezgui, who three months later slaughtered 19-year-old Joel Richards, his uncle Adrian Evans and his grandfather Patrick from Wednesbury on the beach in Sousse, had links with the Bardo attackers and trained alongside one of them in Libya, it has been revealed.

Patrick Evans, Joel Richards and Adrian Evans

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In total 60 people were killed in the two attacks – 31 of them British.

Rezgui is said to have met with cell members in cafes and mosques in the Tunisian capital and taken orders from al-Sandi.

The programme also revealed how those arrested over the Bardo attack told police about plans to target tourists with machine guns at a resort near Tunis – three months before the Sousse attack took place. Despite this crucial intelligence it appears no further security precautions were implemented at the country's tourism hotspots.

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It comes as the inquests into the British beach victims are set to start next week.

A lawyer representing Suzi Richards – mother of Joel, brother of Adrian, and daughter of Patrick – and other victims' families told Panorama that he was unaware of al-Sandi's involvement and had not seen his picture before.

Demetrius Danas, of Irwin Mitchell, said: "I have not seen that. If you are right, and the families see that, they will be shocked to see the face of the man who caused them so much sadness."

The Panorama investigation also revealed what it called a "catalogue of errors" by Tunisian police on the day of the attack.

Having seen statements from officers, it reported that the chief of tourist police in Sousse was just five minutes away when he was told of the attack, but went via a police station seeking extra weapons even though he had two assault rifles in his car. He then went to the wrong hotel.

Two armed officers on the beach on horseback were just a mile away when the attack started but they feared their pistols were "no match" for Rezgui's machine gun.

Another officer who arrived at the beach by boat fainted "out of fear" and the other took his police shirt off "so not to be shot".

It took 40 minutes for Rezgui to be stopped.

Sources close to the investigation then said there were "chain of command" problems in the immediate response and that Rezgui should have "been stopped sooner".

Some of the families who were caught up in the Sousse attack have told Panorama that they were assured by tour operator Thomson that it was safe to travel to Tunisia.

Nicki Duffield said she rang Thomson repeatedly to check on the security situation after hearing about the Bardo museum attack.

TUI, the travel company that owns Thomson, said it wants to understand the specific circumstances that led to the killings. "We are cooperating fully with the coroner and will continue to do so," it said.

Relatives being kept in dark, claims MP

MP David Winnick

The families of 30 British nationals who were killed in the Tunisia beach attack should have been told sooner that the mastermind behind the atrocity had been identified, according to an MP.

David Winnick said it was "extremely disappointing" that victims' families had been "kept in the dark" that Tunisian authorities knew Chamseddine Al-Sandi had plotted the attack and was on the run in Libya. It comes ahead of the inquests into the deaths of the British holidaymakers in Sousse in 2015, which will begin in London next week.

Mr Winnick, MP for Walsall North, said: "This man caused absolute misery to these families. If it is true that the authorities knew that he was on the run but did not inform the families then I would expect a full explanation as to why this is the case.

"It is extremely disappointing that instead they appear to have been kept in the dark."

Mr Winnick added that Tunisian authorities had "some explaining to do" over allegations of police failings on the day of the attack. "They need to provide urgent answers as to whether or not security measures were up to standard," he said. Among those killed in the terrorist attack in Sousse in 2015 were Joel Richards, 19, Charles "Patrick" Evans, 78, both from Wednesbury, and Adrian Evans, 49, from Bilston.

Warley MP John Spellar said the investigation into atrocity was "unlikely to be straightforward", but added: "This terrible attack claimed the lives of 30 British people and it is important that their families get some answers."

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