UK sends military plane to Tunisia to evacuate wounded

UK sends military plane to Tunisia to evacuate wounded
PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - Britain dispatched a Boeing C17 military transport plane to Tunisia on Monday to evacuate tourists wounded in a gun massacre, as Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to mount a full investigation.

"Today we'll be sending out an RAF (Royal Air Force) C17 to help with that evacuation of casualties," Cameron told BBC radio, adding that the bodies of the British victims could also be repatriated.

"This is an absolutely horrific attack and I know it's shocked the whole of the country, the whole of the world," he said.

"We are a target. They have declared war on us... whether we like it or not," he added.

Cameron also said that Home Secretary Theresa May would travel to Tunisia on Monday along with junior foreign minister Tobias Ellwood to meet Tunisian ministers and see the situation for themselves in the resort where Friday's attack took place.

A total of 38 people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a beach near the city of Sousse.

At least 15 victims were from Britain and British media reports say the toll could rise to more than 30.

Three Irish people, a Belgian, a Portuguese and one German were also killed.

Flags were flown at half mast over Cameron's Downing Street office on Monday in sympathy with the victims and their families.

It was the worst loss of British life in a terror attack since 52 people died in suicide bombings on the London transport system on July 7, 2005.

Britain has so far sent 16 detectives to Tunisia to help the investigation into Friday's attack and 400 police officers have been interviewing returning tourists who were in the area at the time.

"Hundreds of police are working on this operation both in Tunisia and here at home," Cameron wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which said this was the largest such investigation since the 2005 attacks.

Police officers would work on "providing vital support to families, helping the Tunisians to identify those that were murdered and launching an investigation into what happened", the prime minister wrote.

"To our shock and grief we must add another word: resolve. Unshakeable resolve. We will stand up for our way of life," he said, calling for "a response at home and abroad".

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