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A Welsh tourist was shot three times during a terrorist attack on a Tunisian beach, using his body as a human shield, his fiancee has said.
Saera Wilson said gas engineer Matthew James, 30, from Trehafod, near Pontypridd, was trying to protect her when the gunmen opened fire.
Ms Wilson, 26, said Mr James was hit in the shoulder, chest and hip.
At least 37 people, including five Britons, have been killed in the attack in the town of Sousse.
Speaking from the hospital where Mr James, known as Sas, is being treated, Ms Wilson said: “He took a bullet for me. I owe him my life because he threw himself in front of me when the shooting started.
“He was covered in blood from the shots, but he just told me to run away.
“He told me: ‘I love you babe. But just go – tell our children that their daddy loves them’.
“It was the bravest thing I’ve ever known. But I just had to leave him under the sunbed because the shooting just kept on coming.
“I ran back, past bodies on the beach to reach our hotel. It was chaos – there was a body in the hotel pool and it was just full of blood.
“You just can’t explain how terrible it was. It was chaos with screaming and gunshots. I’m just so glad Matthew is alive because so many other people are dead.”
She said they had left their two children, Tegan, six, and Kaden, 14 months, at home with their family when they jetted out to Sousse on 21 June for a two week break.
When she got back to their hotel, she said, she hid in a cupboard to stay safe until it became quieter.
Ms Wilson said she kept speaking to people until she found out he was at the hospital.
“I’ve been to the hospital intensive care and I’m just staying here on a chair now. His pelvis was shattered by the bullet and he also had a heart attack.
“But he is alive. I’m just praying we can get out of here as soon as we can.”
Several other tourists from Wales have also been caught up in the attacks.
Amanda Roberts, from Swansea, is staying in the Royal Kenz hotel with her family, which is next door to the affected Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the Port El Kantaoui district.
They were on the beach when the attack took place and she told the BBC: “Someone said ‘run for your life’.”
“We just concentrated on getting back to our hotel safely,” she added.
“We originally heard a muffled sound and saw police on horseback. Scuffles took place, people jumping over walls and there was a sound of gun fire.”
She said they left everything, grabbed onto each other and “ran for our lives, there were literally hundreds of people in the same position”.
“We are now in our hotel room but no-one from Thomson [the family’s holiday company] has been in touch to give us any information.
“Also, my family has sustained injuries to our feet. Luckily we were able to receive treatment from a doctor.”
She said her own feet were so severely burnt from running on hot concrete to the hotel she was unable to stand, which made her feel more vulnerable.
“We’re feeling very shaken but at least we’re still alive,” she said.
Chris Spiteri, 29, from Cardiff, said he was deeply worried about his 25-year-old cousin Lena Tanti, also from Cardiff, who is currently in Tunisia.
“She’s on holiday with her friend and I’ve tried calling her but her phone is dead,” he said. “I’ve Whatsapped her but I haven’t heard back.
“I don’t know what hotel or anything she’s staying in but I’m really worried and I just want to know she’s ok.”
Kelsie Collins, from Pontypridd, is also on holiday in Sousse with her family and has described scenes of confusion and fear.
The 24-year-old, who is staying at the Sahara Beach Resort near the seafront, said her family had been told to stay in their hotel room.
“There’s mostly Brits here in the hotel, but nobody is really saying anything to each other, everyone’s confused and in shock”, she said.
Her grandmother, Mavis Collins, spoke of her relief at hearing the family is safe.
Stacey Webb, 23, from Barry, said she was locked in a bathroom with seven others following the shooting.
“I have never been more scared in my life but I hope God is with me”, she said.
Tunisia has been on high alert since March when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreign tourists, in an attack on a museum in the capital Tunis.
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a failed attack on the beach in Sousse in October 2013.
A spokeswoman for Thomson and First Choice said: “We are working closely with our teams in Tunisia and the relevant authorities to determine exactly what has happened and provide assistance to those affected.”
The UK Foreign Office said it is investigating whether any of the dead are British.
Prime Minister David Cameron said he offered “our solidarity in fighting this evil of terrorism”.
Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones tweeted: “Horrific news coming out of Tunisia and France – my thoughts are with everyone affected.”
Are you in Sousse or do you know of any Welsh tourists out there? Cal: 02920 322 236 or email: [email protected]
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