Gunmen launched a brazen attack on a resort hotel and a beach full of vacationers in the seaside Tunisian city of Sousse, some 90 miles south of the capital Tunis. According to authorities, at least 28 people were killed and dozens more wounded. The majority of the casualties are said to be tourists.

The attack immediately brings to mind the March assault on the Bardo museum in Tunis, when militants killed 22 people, again mostly European tourists. The small Mediterranean nation attracts millions of tourists each year to its gorgeous beaches and ancient, classical ruins.

The details of the attack in Sousse are emerging. British, German and Belgian nationals are believed to be among those killed, according to Reuters. Irish media also reported the death of an unnamed Irish woman in her 50s. No group has claimed responsibility for the massacre.

Some reports suggest the attackers landed on the beach in Port El Kantaoui, to the north of Sousse's city center, in an inflatable boat, armed with grenades and automatic weapons. Then, an attacker moved against the Hotel Imperial Marhaba, not far from the shoreline.

An update posted on the Web site of the hotel's parent company indicated that, at the time of the assault, occupancy of the five-star facility was at 77 percent, with 565 guests.

Tunisian authorities have identified one of the gunmen as a man from the city of Kairouan, Tunisia's most important religious center. According to the AP, he "came from the beach hiding his Kalashnikov under an umbrella before opening fire on the tourists. From there, he entered the Hotel Imperial [Marhaba] through the pool, shooting people as he went."

Here's the horrifying account of one tourist, who eventually barricaded his room with a mattress.

Another tourist, Steve Johnson, related this account to the Guardian:

We were just laying on the beach as usual ... and we heard what at first we thought was fireworks but it was soon pretty obvious that it was not fireworks, it was firearms being discharged, and people screaming and starting to run from along the beach towards us.
Me and my friend said: ‘That’s guns, let’s go,’ and we shouted to everybody around us who joined the sort of mass rush from the beach. People running in all directions around us.

Sousse is one of Tunisia's popular coastal destinations, drawing some 1.2 million tourists a year. It's a historic city that, like ancient Carthage near Tunis, was founded more than 2,000 years ago by Phoenician settlers and traders, and remained a prominent port and fortress town in the centuries thereafter.

Its famed medieval Medina, or market, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that the U.N. cultural agency deems "an outstanding example of Arabo-Muslim and Mediterranean architecture that reflects a particular traditional way of life."

Twitter user Emily Haddad posted images of the city in happier times under the hashtag #LetMeTellYouAboutSousse.

Sadly, there were already reports of European airlines canceling flights to the city, and turning around other aircraft en route. Another Twitter user posted this image of tourists heading to Sousse's airport.

Neighbors and friends remember the Tunisian man who opened fire on a beach resort full of foreign tourists as a cheerful, chatty person who prayed regularly but never talked about religion. (Reuters)
National security correspondent Greg Miller discusses the impact of three terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait after an Islamic State leader called to make the month of Ramadan a time of "calamity for the infidels." (McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)

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