Foreign Secretary warns more fatalities expected as 'at least five' Britons confirmed dead in Tunisia

'We have to assume that a high proportion of those killed and injured will have been British'

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The Independent Online

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned that more reports of British fatalities should be expected in coming days, as he confirmed that "at least five" Britons had been killed in the shootings in Tunisia.

He said: "The situation on the ground is still somewhat confused and we can't be sure exactly how many, but because of the nature of the composition of the tourist population in this part of Tunisia we have to assume that a high proportion of those killed and injured will have been British.

"We have had reports from families of those involved in the incident that allow us to confirm that at least five Britons have been killed in this incident, but I should warn that we must expect that there will be more reports of fatalities as we establish the detail on the ground."

He added: "I would like to offer my condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these three shocking terrorist incidents in Tunisia, Kuwait and France.

"I have chaired a Cobra meeting this afternoon to look at our response to all three of these incidents and there will be a further Cobra meeting tomorrow morning.

A consular team from the Foreign Office is in Sousse, with two rapid response teams travelling to the region overnight.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond leaves Downing Street after attending an emergency security meeting following the deadly attacks on tourists in Tunisia, on 26 June 2015 in London, England.

"We are working with the Tunisian authorities to understand what they are doing in response to this incident and around the tightening of security in this area.

"We are talking to other national authorities - particularly the German authorities who had large numbers of tourists in the area - and I have just finished a conference call with the tour operators who operate the majority of flights into this area."

At least 37 people have been confirmed dead at a hotel in the Tunisian seaside town of Sousse, in which two gunmen were initially said to be involved by Tunisian authorities. They have later said only one was involved in the attack.

One gunman, a student, was killed at the scene and a bomb was found on his body. Witnesses said he used a Kalashnikov to shoot the tourists sunbathing on the beach at the Riu Bellevue Park hotel.

Anyone affected or concerned about family and friends can contact the Foreign Office helpline on 020 7008 0000.