Bodies of 8 British victims in Tunisia attack flown home
The bodies of eight of the 30 Britons killed in last week’s attack in Tunisia arrived in Britain on Wednesday to a solemn ceremony reminiscent of the repatriation of fallen soldiers.
The bodies arrived at RAF Brize Norton northwest of London, where white-gloved pall-bearers in air force uniforms linked arms to carry each coffin to a hearse waiting near the runway.
The coffins, including those of three generations of a single family, had been covered with white flowers and flown from Tunisia aboard a Royal Air Force flight on a Boeing C-17 military transport plane.
The Foreign Office confirmed that these are the first bodies to be repatriated, with more expected in the coming days.
"This will be the first of a number of repatriations into RAF Brize Norton," it said in a statement.
On Friday, 26 June, multiple gunmen opened fire at tourists visiting a Tunisian beach resort, leaving at least 37 people dead.
The luxury tourist hotel was in the Tunisian town of Sousse.
The five-star hotel, the Imperial Marhaba, was attacked before security forces arrived at the scene, who then exchanged fire with the gunmen.
According to witnesses, there were three gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs who attacked the beach resort. One of the gunmen has been arrested.
The Tunisia attack was among a trio of attacks that took place in France and Kuwait on Friday.
The number of Britons identified as dying in the attack has now reached 30, the Foreign Office said on Wednesday.
The death toll among Britons was the worst loss of life for Britain in an attack of this nature since the July 2005 bombings in London that killed 52 people.
Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed a full investigation, calling for "a response at home and abroad" to terrorism.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council also strongly condemned the attacks on Friday, and said those responsible must face justice.
Ban vowed that the "heinous attacks" will not weaken international resolve to fight terror but rather strengthen the commitment to defeat "those bent on murder, destruction and the annihilation of human development and culture."
The 25 British tourists who were wounded in the attack have already been flown home, while 4,000 terrified holidaymakers were repatriated at the weekend.
Another 1,900 are due to return home in the coming days.