The Tunisian gunman who opened fire on tourists at a Tunisian beach resort on Friday, killing at least 39 people, most of them tourists, was reportedly a local “break-dancing star” and a fan of Real Madrid.
Footage obtained by Sky News on Saturday showed him walking calmly along the beach. Sky said the clip was filmed after the massacre, and noted that no members of the Tunisian security forces approached him. He was later shot dead in a confrontation in a side street, the report said.
Authorities identified the attacker as Seifedinne Rezgui, a 23-year-old electrical engineering student from Gaafour, in northwest Tunisia. He was a student at Kairouan University, a city just south of Sousse where the killings occurred.
His bewildered family described a quiet, not-too-religious young man who liked soccer, music and spent time with friends. They said that they last saw him a day before the attack and that nothing seemed amiss.
“We were all shocked when we heard the news and saw his picture, and his mother was devastated,” an uncle told The Telegraph Saturday.
“Yes, he went to mosque and prayed, but just like the other young men, he would then go to a cafe and play football with his friends. I last saw him on Thursday, he said ‘hello’, and then he left that night and went to his friend’s house. We didn’t know where he was going, and there were no goodbye’s. The entire family is shocked at the hidden reality of what he was capable of,” he added.
According to the report, a Facebook account believed to have belonged to Rezgui showed a love for Real Madrid and rap music, but also an admiration for the Islamic State. Several propaganda videos were also posted to the page.
“He used to use hair gel and wear the nicest of clothes, and he used to break dancing [sic]” the uncle said. “He even used to go to competitions and things like that in Tunis, he was well known for that here. He didn’t even have a beard, and I’ve never seen him with anyone with a beard. Now he’s shooting people with a Kalashnikov, it’s just so confusing.”
On Saturday, the Islamic State, which took responsibility for the attack, circulated a photograph it said was of Rezgui online. He is seated on the floor, smiling and flanked by Kalashnikovs. He was described by the group as a “soldier of the caliphate.”
Witnesses of the attack Friday described a “very, very calm” demeanor by Rezgui as he shot beach goers after going for a swim in the ocean. The attack was said to have lasted at least 30 minutes.
Warning: Graphic footage in clip below
Rezgui, who was later killed by police, reportedly carried one of those same rifles concealed in a beach umbrella into the the crowd of hotel guests and opened fire.
On Saturday, additional footage of the massacre obtained by Sky News show Rezgui calmly walking along the beach with his weapon in hand as horrified beachgoers look on.
Witnesses said he chose his victims carefully and told Tunisians to get out of the way as he continued his killing spree. Most of the victims were tourists. Fifteen Britons were confirmed among the dead by Saturday night.
According to Sky News, some Tunisians who were not targeted by Rezgui, pleaded with him to stop, asking him “why are you killing these people?”
He responded to them by saying “well, at least I’m not killing you,” and walked away.