Britain warns further Islamist attacks in Tunisia possible

Britain warns further Islamist attacks in Tunisia possible
A boy holds a Tunisian flag as he stands near bouquets of flowers laid at the beachside of the Imperiale Marhabada hotel, which was attacked by a gunman in Sousse, Tunisia, June 27, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

LONDON - The British government cautioned Sunday that other attacks "are possible" in Tunisia after the mass shooting two days ago that left 38 people dead including at least 15 Britons.

Interior minister Theresa May said there had been no change in the British toll, the worst in a terror attack since the 2005 London bombings, but told the BBC: "We are expecting that to rise."

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said Saturday that several British tourists had been seriously injured, while desperate families have said that some relatives are still unaccounted for.

The attack led to the largest British loss of life in a terror attack since 52 people died in suicide bombings on the London transport system on July 7, 2005.

May said: "This is still an ongoing investigation and we're working very closely with the Tunisian authorities in relation to this.

"I've seen no evidence so far that this was targeted because there were British tourists there."

About 20,000 Britons were on package holidays at the time of the attack, and travel companies have laid on flights to repatriate those who want to come home.

In updated travel advice, the Foreign Office urged those who remained in Tunisia to be vigilant and said there was a risk of further incidents.

"Further terrorist attacks in Tunisia, including in tourist resorts, are possible, including by individuals who are unknown to the authorities and whose actions are inspired by terrorist groups via social media," it said.

The TUI travel group, which runs Thomson and First Choice holidays, sent out 11 flights on Saturday and had another 12 planned for Sunday, with the aim of bringing home a total of 2,500 people over the weekend.

Three members of the same family were among the British victims, according to media reports, including 19-year-old student Joel Richards, his uncle and grandfather.

Another 39 people were injured, including 25 Britons, in the attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

The shooting came the same day as a bombing in Kuwait, which was also claimed by the IS group, and a suspected Islamist murder at a factory in France.

The British government held meetings of its emergency response committee on Friday and on Saturday, and May was due to chair a third meeting later on Sunday.

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