Tour operator TUI has reached a settlement with families of holidaymakers caught up in the Tunisia beach terror attack in 2015.
Extremist Seifeddine Rezgui, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student, massacred 38 tourists on 26 June 2015 in an attack on a beach at the five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba hotel complex on the Sousse coast.
Some 30 of the victims were British, three were Irish, and thirty-nine people were wounded – some left with life-changing injuries.
The claimants alleged that TUI UK was responsible for safety and security breaches at the hotel, which the company denied.
A trial of liability issues was due to take place at the High Court next month.
But on Thursday, TUI and Irwin Mitchell, the law firm representing more than 80 claimants, released a joint statement stating they had reached a settlement “without admission of liability or fault”, bringing the legal action to an end.
“The tragic events of 26 June 2015 in Tunisia shocked and devastated us all and changed the lives of those affected forever. TUI has always expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those caught up in the terrorist attack that day and continue to extend deepest sympathy,” the statement read.
“The claimants have fought tirelessly to understand how the attack happened and to seek to ensure that lessons have been learned so that other families are not affected by similar tragedy.”
It continued: “TUI has worked collaboratively with the claimants and their representatives, Irwin Mitchell, to reach a settlement without admission of liability or fault and in recognition of the wholly exceptional circumstances of the case, and in the hope that it will go some way to assisting the claimants.
“TUI appreciates how difficult it must be to move on from such a horrific incident but hopes today will provide the opportunity for those affected to start to do so.”
A coroner who conducted the 2017 inquests of the 30 Britons who died in the attack ruled they were unlawfully killed.
But Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith ruled against a finding of “neglect” by TUI, as well as the owners of the Riu Imperial Marhaba.
The Islamic State terror group said it was behind Rezgui’s massacre, the deadliest non-state attack in the history of modern-day Tunisia, with more deaths than the 22 killed in the Bardo National Museum attack in the country’s capital of Tunis just three months before.
The Tunisian government later “acknowledged fault” for slow police response to the incident.
Tourism in Tunisia suffered considerably following the attacks, with tourist receipts plunging 50% year-on-year in 2016, while the number of border arrivals was down 18%, according to the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism.