Tunisia attack: RAF flies home more bodies of UK dead

The coffin of Lisa Graham was the first to be carried off the plane at RAF Brize Norton Image copyright PA
Image caption The coffin of Lisa Graham was the first to be carried off the plane at RAF Brize Norton

The bodies of nine more Britons killed in the Tunisian beach attack have arrived back in the UK.

The coffins left Tunis earlier, arriving on an RAF aircraft at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire at 15:00 BST.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said all 30 British victims had now been identified and he was confident the figure was the final death toll.

Meanwhile, the defence secretary has set out the case for air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria.

Michael Fallon told MPs they should "be in absolutely no doubt the people who perpetrated the murders of our constituents are going to be tracked down, whether they're in Libya, Syria or anywhere else".

He has also suggested the attack, which killed 38 people, may have been planned by IS in Syria.

It comes as eight suspects remain in custody on suspicion of being directly linked to the attack, which IS has claimed. Four others who were held have been released.

Full coverage of the Sousse attack

Victims flown home

Tributes are continuing to be paid to the British victims, who include a recently-engaged beauty blogger, three members of the same family and a married couple marking a 50th birthday.

Those repatriated on Thursday were:

  • Lisa, 50, and her husband William Graham, 51, from Bankfoot, Scotland
  • Philip Heathcote, 52, from Felixstowe, Suffolk
  • Trudy Jones, 51, from Blackwood, south Wales
  • Ann, 63, and her husband James McQuire, 66, from Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire
  • Janet, 63, and her husband John Stocker, 74, from Crawley, West Sussex
  • David Thompson, 80, from Tadley, Hampshire
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The coffin of Ann McQuire was placed in a hearse after being carried from the RAF aircraft
Image copyright Family handout
Image caption John and Janet Stocker were described as "proud parents and grandparents"
Image copyright Other
Image caption William and Lisa Graham were also among the dead
Image copyright PA
Image caption The bodies were flown back to the UK on an RAF C-17 plane

The first inquests into the Tunisia deaths were due to be opened at West London Coroner's Court on Thursday afternoon, but were delayed until Friday. Further inquests are due to be opened at the court on Saturday and Sunday.

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out before the bodies are released to their families.

Eight other Britons killed by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui - who had links to IS - were brought back to the UK on Wednesday.

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Media captionAn RAF aircraft flew a further nine British victims of the Tunisia attack back to the UK

'Tragic event'

Thomson and First Choice said in a statement that all 30 British people killed were its customers.

"The whole company would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of those involved in this tragic event," it added.

"Our main focus now is to ensure the families of the deceased and our customers who have been injured receive all possible support at this incredibly difficult time."

What we know about the British victims

The repatriation of the dead is likely to take several days, with two further flights planned for Friday and Saturday.

A minute's silence is due to be held across the UK at noon on Friday to mark a week from the date of the attack.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Jim and Ann McQuire were heavily involved with their local church
Image caption Trudy Jones worked as a care home worker

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police said more than 160 officers were interviewing witnesses to the attack who had returned to the UK.

A total of 20 officers have been sent to Tunisia by the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, which is leading the coroner's investigation.

The National Policing Counter Terrorism Headquarters has also sent specialist security advisers to Tunisia, to support a review of security at resorts and tourist attractions.

Scotland Yard has previously said its investigation into the attack is likely to be one of the largest counter-terrorism deployments since the London 7/7 bombings in 2005, which killed 52.

Background and analysis

Image copyright Getty Images

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