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Tunisia: clampdown on security as tourists repatriated

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By Catherine Hardy  with AFP, Reuters
Tunisia: clampdown on security as tourists repatriated

The only people on the beach today in the Tunisian resort of Sousse are armed police officers. There has been a marked security clampdown since 38 people, including at least five British nationals, were killed in a terrorist attack in the country yesterday.

In London, Prime Minister David Cameron has chaired an emergency government meeting to map out the UK’s response to the atrocity.

The Tunisian government has called up army reservists to boost the military presence on the streets.

The authorities say the gunman disguised himself as a holidaymaker to gain access to the hotel complex where he opened fire. The group calling itself Islamic State says it was behind the atrocity.

In response, Prime Minister Habib Essid says around 80 mosques suspected of inciting terrorism will be closed down in Tunisia this week. None will be allowed to operate outside the law, he says.

Travel operators Thomson and First Choice have sent ten planes to Tunisia to bring home the 2,500 British tourists caught up in the events. They have also cancelled all holidays to the country for the next week.

“I didn’t feel right staying and sitting by the pool knowing that two minutes walk away, many people had died,” said one woman as she sat in Departures at the airport, “I felt I shouldn’t be there enjoying my sunbathing when so many people have had such a horrific thing happen to them.”

36 people were wounded, some of them seriously. As well as Britons, Germans, Belgians and at least one Irish citizen are among those killed.