Mother of Tunisian gunman says he was ‘brainwashed’

Seifeddine Rezgui ‘couldn’t kill a mouse’ Radhia Manai tells newspaper

A photo taken on June 28th shows the house of Seifeddine Rezgui, the assailant behind the beachside massacre at Riu Imperial Marhaba on the outskirts of Sousse, in the town of Gaafour near Siliana, northwest of Tunis. Photograph: Fawsi Dridi/AFP/Getty Images

A photo taken on June 28th shows the house of Seifeddine Rezgui, the assailant behind the beachside massacre at Riu Imperial Marhaba on the outskirts of Sousse, in the town of Gaafour near Siliana, northwest of Tunis. Photograph: Fawsi Dridi/AFP/Getty Images

 

The mother of the Tunisian beach gunman has revealed her son once refused to kill a mouse because he “couldn’t kill anything”.

Radhia Manai (49) said she believed Seifeddine Rezgui, who was killed by security forces after the rampage in the Sousse tourist resort, had been “brainwashed” into carrying out the attack.

Rezgui opened fire on holidaymakers sunbathing on the beach on Friday June 26th, shooting 38 people dead including 3 Irish people.

Rezgui’s mother told the Sunday Times: “When they told me my son had killed all these people I said no, it’s impossible. I couldn’t believe, I can’t believe it. Once there was a mouse in the house and I asked Seifeddine to kill it and he refused saying, ‘I can’t kill anything’.

“God bless the victims, all those people and their poor families, and I feel so sorry but I want to tell them it wasn’t my son who did this, it was a different Seifeddine.

“I think someone was pressuring my son to do this. Maybe they said, ‘Do this or we’ll kill you’. My son is a victim like all the others. I want to know who is the head of all this, who did this to him and I want them to go to prison or be killed.”

According to the paper, his parents first learned of the massacre when police arrived to question them at their home in Gaafour, more than 100 miles from Sousse.

Tunisian authorities have questioned several suspected associates of Rezgui, who had links to the terror group Islamic State (IS).

They have said he acted alone during the rampage but had accomplices who supported him beforehand, providing him with weapons and logistical support.

Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi said an investigation was under way into security failures and armed tourist police would be on beaches.

A state of emergency has been declared in the north African country in the wake of the attack.

PA