The events of last Friday in Kuwait, France and Tunisia are truly shocking and horrific.
In Kuwait, a suicide bomber killed 27 and injured more than 200 in an attack on a Mosque near Kuwait City. In France, a man was murdered in the most horrific and brutal manner and two were injured in a terrorist explosion.
However, it is the events in Tunisia which have directly affected Britons and shocked the nation. A radicalised university student murdered innocent people on the beach at Port El Kantaoui.
At the time of writing this, 21 British nationals have been identified as being victims, with nine more believed to be among the dead, although not confirmed or formally identified at this stage.
Although the events in these three countries are truly shocking and linked with an extreme ideology, there is nothing to suggest at this stage the events were co-ordinated.
Similarly, although British nationals numbered the highest level of victims in the Tunisian attack, there is nothing to indicate that Britain was the sole or intended target; it appears that the gunman wanted to destabilise Tunisia’s growing tourist industry and recent establishment of democracy.
Any sort of atrocity, with the loss of innocent life, should be condemned. However, there is something truly shocking that such an event takes place on a sun-filled holiday beach where people are relaxing with their loved ones, only to experience a massacre. It defies comprehension.
There is additional poignancy in that the events mark the biggest terrorist attack against British nationals for almost exactly a decade.
July 7, only a week away, marks ten years since the terrorist bombings in London on the underground and on buses.
On Monday, the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons. Before his statement a minute’s silence was held in the Chamber of the House, to allow Parliament to commemorate those who had lost their lives and experienced the appalling attacks.
The Prime Minister said in his statement that a national minute’s silence will be held this Friday, at noon, one week on from the moment of the attack. This will also be observed in Hartlepool and I hope as many people from the town will stop their everyday activities at noon on Friday to remember those fellow Britons and others who lost their lives last week.
The Prime Minister also rightly said that in due course, and in consultation with the affected families, plans will be made for a permanent and respectful memorial to the victims of the attack.
I’ve had constituents contact me about possible travel plans to Tunisia, having planned to go there on holiday in the next few weeks.
The Foreign Office, for all its sensitive work regarding the victims and people caught up in the tragedy, are giving somewhat conflicting and unhelpful information regarding travelling to the area.
I’ve already written to the Foreign Secretary to try to help constituents and would be happy to cut through some of the bureaucracy to get clear answers for people in Hartlepool. This is a truly horrific attack in which people from our country innocently enjoying a holiday were slaughtered on the beach. I hope people stop and reflect at noon on Friday.