Story highlights

38 people were killed in Tunisia, the health ministry reports

ISIS identifies the attacker as a local engineering student

Terrorist attacks also happened in France and Kuwait

CNN  — 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on a seaside resort hotel in Tunisia on Friday that killed at least 38 people and wounded at least 36 others, many of them Western tourists.

The Islamist group named the attacker as Abu Yahya al-Qirawani and said he managed to infiltrate the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in the coastal city of Sousse.

ISIS posted a photo of the alleged attacker, but people who were at the scene of the shooting told CNN they could not definitively say whether the gunman they saw is the same one featured in the ISIS photo.

Some witnesses reported seeing more than one gunman, and the Tunisian Interior Ministry initially said there had been three, but a ministry spokesman later said they are aware of only one and that he was killed.

The spokesman, Mohammed Ali Aroui, said the gunman was a student who was going to receive his master’s degree in engineering in the nearby town of Kairouan. Tunisian authorities did not name him.

A British man wounded in the arm described running into the sea to escape.

Tunisia hotel attack witness: It was sheer horror

The dead

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said 38 people were killed, many of them as they enjoyed their holiday on the beach.

Among the dead were at least five Britons, three Belgians, one German, and one woman from Ireland, according to the foreign ministries of Britain, Ireland and Tunisia.

An unknown number of French nationals were also among the dead, Essid said Saturday, according to CNN affiliate BFMTV.

A British man wounded in the arm described running into the sea to escape.

“I heard someone firing a gun and then I looked at my wife, and she got up and ran,” the man, whose name wasn’t given, told Tunisia’s Watania 1 TV.

“As I turned, the bullet just hit me in my arm. … My wife ran to the hotel and I just saw the gunman firing shots randomly at people laying on the sunbeds on the beach.”

Another British tourist staying next door to the Imperial Marhaba said he had just left its lobby and was walking along the beach with his wife when the firing started.

Ian Symes said that at first it sounded like fireworks, but “then you could hear the swoosh of the bullets as they were going on the beach, and that’s when panic set in and everybody rushed up to the hotels.”

He said he also heard a couple of explosions amid the gunshots, which he believes might have been grenades.

A woman from Wales told CNN’s Robyn Kriel that she saw bloodied bodies lying in the sand and people from neighboring hotels jumping over fences to get to her hotel, about a mile away from the main attack scene.

The woman said she heard at least 30 seconds of sustained gunfire.

Symes said staff from the hotel ran onto the beach while the firing was still going on so they could help the victims.

“They were very brave,” he said. “They were going toward (the victims), certainly while the guns were still firing. Very commendable.”

map terror attacks 06-26

On its website, Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba is described as an all-inclusive hotel with views of Port El Kantaoui on the Mediterranean Sea. It contains indoor and outdoor pools, including one for children, as well as buffet-style and theme restaurants.

Opinion: What the Tunisia attack means

Attacks also in France, Kuwait

Tunisia’s nightmare came the same day as at least two fatal terrorist attacks in other countries.