Edmonton Journal

Carnage on three continents

Attacks appear to have been co-ordinated

- Trist in Hopper

TORONTO — From the English Channel to the Persian Gulf, security forces were on maximum alert Friday after suspected Islamic terrorists appeared to mount simultaneo­us attacks on three continents, murdering more than 80 people in Tunisia, France and Kuwait.

A decapitate­d head was found mounted on the fence outside a chemical factory near Lyon, France, alongside a black flag carrying Arabic inscriptio­ns.

In Kuwait City, a suicide bomb exploded in a mosque packed with Shiite worshipper­s, killing at least 27.

But the deadliest attack came in Tunisia, where a gunman dressed as a tourist pulled a Kalashniko­v rifle from an umbrella and opened fire on beachgoers at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Sousse.

“We were in the pool when we heard automatic gunfire. People ran past saying there was an armed man on the beach,” read a Twitter post by John Yeoman, a British guest at the hotel who spent the attack barricaded in his room. The hotel caters largely to foreign tourists. Among the dead were people from Ireland, Belgium, Germany and the U.K.

“He was choosing who to shoot,” one witness told Tunisian radio. “Some people, he was saying to them, ‘You go away.’ He was choosing tourists, British, French.”

Wives were killed in front of husbands, sun bathers were cut down as they sprinted to safety and a 16-year-old British boy reportedly saw his parents and a grandparen­t murdered in front of him. At least 39 people were reported dead.

Matthew James, a vacationer from Wales, suffered multiple bullet wounds after using himself as a human shield to protect his fiancée.

“He was covered in blood from the shots but he just told me to run away,” she told the British press.

On social media, Britons begged for informatio­n about missing relatives.

“Haven’t spoke to my Dad since the attack, please, please, please retweet as he is missing along with his partner,” read one widely circulated message from a man in the East Midlands.

“This is worse than terrible,” said Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. Tunisia cannot stand up to the Islamist threat alone, he said, but “we are determined to take the most painful measures to deal with an even more painful scourge.”

Although the three attacks have not been definitive­ly linked, they appear to fulfil a promise by propagandi­sts from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan would bring a “calamity” to the world’s non-Muslims.

Although the victims in Kuwait City were Muslim, the jihadists consider them heretics because they are Shiites. In a statement, ISIL said the bomb had targeted a “temple of the apostates.”

 ?? Jawhara FM via the associat ed press ?? Injured people are treated on a Tunisian beach in Sousse on Friday after a gunman opened fire on tourists.
Jawhara FM via the associat ed press Injured people are treated on a Tunisian beach in Sousse on Friday after a gunman opened fire on tourists.

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