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History on 26th June


Richard III becomes king of England

Corn Laws abolished

Britons Slaughtered in Tunisia

The 26th of June 2015 AD

It’s another beautiful day on the beach at Port El-Kantaoui, a few miles north of Sousse in Tunisia. At 11:30 tourists sunbathing or taking a dip in the warm sea may be thinking about packing up and heading back to their nearby luxury hotels for a bite of lunch and perhaps a cold beer. Then a smiling young man, student Seifeddine Rezgui, moments previously interacting sociably with some of them, reaches into a parasol, pulls out a Kalshnikov, and shoots indiscriminately at everyone around him.

The killer, apparently high on cocaine to dull any residual conscience, fears or fellow feeling, moves into one hotel, the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba, still firing his weapon, and now throwing a grenade; he moves on to a neighbouring hotel, the Riu Bellevue Park, still spraying gunfire, then tries to escape along the beach and an alleyway, where at around 12:30 he is shot dead by police. It has been one hour of appalling carnage, with 38 innocent people murdered by the gunman, 30 of them British.

Immediately after the attack IS lauds the killer for his courage, but he had a machine gun, the real courage was demonstrated by ordinary people who protected loved ones by shielding them with their bodies; by a local builder on a roof who tried to halt Rezgui by dropping tiles on him; by the Red Crescent workers who ran to aid the wounded regardless of risk; by a shop owner who sheltered desperate tourists.

The medieval fanatics who pervert Islam to their narrow factional ends have overseen another atrocity; they’ve deliberately endangered, for a time, the livelihoods of millions of Tunisians dependent on tourism. We must wait to see how many in Tunisia, in Britain and elsewhere are attracted to their flag by such barbarism, and how many determine to oppose their year zero cause.

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Great bodies of people are never responsible for what they do. - Virginia Woolf
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On this day:
Great London Tornado - 1091, Battle of Fornham - 1173, Battle of Neville Cross - 1346, Regicides Executed - 1660, London Beer Flood - 1814, 1st Professional Golf Tournament - 1860, First Motoring Offences in Britain - 1895, First Full-Scale British Air-raid - 1917, World’s First Fully Commercial Nuclear Power Plant Opened - 1956, Hatfield Rail Crash - 2000
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