Irish woman among 38 killed in gun attack on Tunisia

Lorna Carty, from Robinstown, Co Meath, shot dead in assault on beach at Sousse resort

Lorna Carty, from Co Meath, who was killed in a terrorist attack at a resort in Tunisia.

In three separate attacks at least 66 people, including an Irish woman, were killed by Islamic extremists on three continents yesterday.

The worst atrocity occurred in the Tunisian resort of Sousse, where gunmen opened fire on the beach in front of the Hotel Imperial Marhaba, killing at least 38 people, most of them foreign tourists.

Speaking to reporters, the Tunisian health minister Said Aidi said of the 36 wounded, eight are in critical condition.

Police officers control the crowd while surrounding a man suspected to be involved in an attack on a beachside hotel in Sousse, Tunisia. Photograph: Amine Ben Aziza/Reuters

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the explosion in a Shia mosque in Kuwait City where at least 27 were slain. Elsewhere, a French Muslim killed and beheaded his boss and attempted to blow up a gas factory near Lyon.


Lorna Carty from Robinstown, Co Meath, was shot dead as she sunbathed on the beach in Sousse. A nurse and mother of two adult children, she had travelled to Tunisia with her husband Declan, a well known dairy farmer.

The couple received the Tunisian holiday as a gift from a relative as Mr Carty was recovering from heart surgery. Their daughter Hazel (18), had just completed her Leaving Cert and is believed to have been notified of her mother's death while on holiday in Turkey. Their son Simon (21), a science student at UCD, was at home in Robinstown.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said he could not rule out the possibility there may be other injuries or fatalities among Irish holidaymakers, a number of whom were known to be in the vicinity of the hotel.

Grabbed her two sons

Irish woman Elizabeth O’Brien grabbed her two sons and they ran for their lives when they heard shooting about noon. Ms O’Brien initially thought the noise she heard was fireworks. Then she thought “Oh my God, it sounds like gunfire.” She ran to the sea to fetch her children and ran towards the hotel. “The waiters and the security on the beach started saying ‘Run, run, run’ and we just ran to our room, which is like a little bungalow.”

Ms O'Brien told RTÉ that they were trapped in their hotel room, where she had received a phone call from the Irish Consul in Madrid. Mr Flanagan said Ireland's Ambassador to Spain was en route to Tunisia.

The Government has changed its travel advice for Tunisia to “exercise extreme caution,” he said. On Tuesday, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the spokesman for IS, exhorted Muslims to “embark and hasten towards jihad.” This is the fasting month of Ramadan, which is holy to Muslims. “O mujahedeen everywhere, rush and go to make Ramadan a month of disasters for the infidels,” he said.

Suicide bomber

IS called the suicide bomber who blew himself up in Imam al Sadeq mosque in Kuwait yesterday “one of the knights of the Sunni people.”

Yassin Salhi, the Frenchman who beheaded his boss from the delivery company where he worked near Lyon, appears to have modelled himself on IS, which has made decapitation its macabre signature. Salhi placed his victim’s severed head on a fence post outside the factory he tried to blow up, and wreathed it with IS flags.

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe

Lara Marlowe is an Irish Times contributor

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times