NEW: Tunisia plans to put 1,000 armed security officers in tourist zones, news agency says
A shooting attack Friday in Sousse, Tunisia, left at least 38 dead and 39 wounded
Tunisia has identified the gunman as a 24-year-old; ISIS claims responsibility but its role is unclear
On the second day of her third holiday trip to Tunisia, Chris Callaghan was chased by a terrorist and shot in the leg, her right femur shattered.
Callaghan was one of at least 39 people injured when a gunman opened fire at the beachfront Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in the coastal city of Sousse. At least 38 more were killed in the attack, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
Speaking from her hospital bed, Callaghan told CNN she couldn’t believe the terrible events unfolding around her on Friday.
“My right leg was laying across my stomach,” she said, still visibly shaken.
But despite her own horrific injury, Callaghan said she knows she was lucky. A woman next to her in the panicked crowd was shot four times.
“This lady was bleeding so heavily. And I was laying in her blood trying to keep her awake,” she said. “It was dreadful. I’ve never witnessed anything like it.”
Hit by bullet, ‘I felt a kick’
In another room, Ukrainian Nadezhda Vasilevna, 76, also lies injured. Like many of those in the hospital, she is still wearing the bracelet that identifies her as a guest of the Imperial Marhaba Hotel. Doctors said they removed grenade fragments from her thigh.
“My husband went to swim, and I was lying and reading the newspaper by the sea. Suddenly I heard an explosion,” she said.
“I saw the man running and shooting. He shot at us. For those who moved, he fired again. I looked where he pointed the gun. When he aimed the weapon in my side, I felt a kick. The bullet went right through my soft tissues.”
She tied a towel around her leg and tried to hide in the sand, watching stunned as the gunman continued to fire.
“I was lucky,” Vasilevna said. “I had no fear. It was like a movie. I just watched him and tried to deceive him. I just lost a lot of blood.”
Meantime, Vasilevna’s husband, Igor Vladimirovich, 78, watched the attack in horror from the water where he had been swimming. “The terrorist fired almost without stopping. He moved quickly,” he said.
It was the couple’s second trip to Tunisia.
Belgian Claude Pesser said he was very close to the gunman but remembers little about him – he was just too scared.
An X-ray image clearly shows the bullet that struck Pesser’s leg, cutting him down as he tried to run to safety.
Pesser said he usually travels to Tunisia twice a year – but no more.
He expressed sorrow for his Tunisian friends, who he said are good people. But he said the situation in the country is now too dangerous, and he thinks it will stay that way for a long time.