In a recent terrorist attack on a Tunisia coastal resort, gunman Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, was responsible for the deaths of 38 tourists as he roamed the site and surrounding area firing a machine gun at innocent bystanders and holiday makers. The attack, that took place on June 26 in Sousse, left friends and families of the victims shaken and traumatised by the senseless murder and made headlines worldwide.
Now, in an exclusive interview by Sky News, the parents of Tunisia gunman Rezgui have spoken out in defense of their son, who they believed to have been framed.
The mother of the 23-year-old gunman, Radhia Manai, described the final moments in which she saw her son prior to the attack, painting the image of a warm-hearted family man.
“When I came back from work I found him playing with his brother and on his laptop. They took a picture together,” she explained. “He took a shower and changed his clothes, then he came to me and said ‘Mom, I’m going to see a friend for a night and I need 10 dinars.'”
“He hugged and kissed me and he left, from that moment I didn’t see him.”
“The next day the police knocked at our door. We didn’t have any idea what happened. I thought he was with a friend in Tunis. I didn’t believe it. Even now, I swear to God, I don’t believe what happened.”
Manai described to Sky News how she struggled to see how Rezgui could have committed such a hideous crime, or even had the time to partake in the two years of training in Libya that experts have claimed. The family of the gunman maintain that Rezgui had been brainwashed into attending the attack as well as framed for the 38 counts of murder at the resort.
“I can’t imagine he could carry out such an operation? He was carrying his weapon and was just walking. He didn’t fire it. I want to know who fired and then framed him.”
The father of the Tunisia terrorist gunman, Abdul-Hakim Rezgui, described how Rezgui was a hard-working son, dedicated to his studies and developing a better future for himself.
“For four years he was studying at Kairouan University and was never absent,” he explained. “He wanted to make money to help himself. He wanted to buy good clothes.”
“People say he spent two years training in Libya. How could he train in Libya? How was he able to do that? What about his university?”
When asked to describe his son, the elder Rezgui explained how the gunman was normal by any account — he loved football, dancing, and reading, he went on to describe how his son was dedicated to academia and always achieved good grades in school.
“I say to the tourists: God bless those who died. And God bless my son. My son was not capable of this. Bad guys tricked him and God will give him what he deserves.”
Speculations of a repeat attack on Tunisia in the near future has resulted in requests for tourists to avoid the destination amidst panic caused by the attack. Despite this, the Tunisian ambassador in the U.K., Nabil Ammar, has claimed that avoiding the destination plays directly into the hands of the terrorist organizations responsible for the attack, and is likely to devastate Tunisia’s tourist-based economy.
[Image credit: Press Association]