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Mourners honor Tunisia terror victims

July 3, 2015

Britain has observed a minute of silence across the nation, paying respect to victims of last week's Sousse massacre, which killed 30 Britons. Tunisia's prime minister laid a wreath at the site of the terror attack.

England - Schweigeminute für Tunesien
Image: Getty Images/C. Court

Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister David Cameron observed the minute's silence on Friday, while hundreds of other people also bowed their heads in remembrance of the dozens killed in the Tunisia rampage seven days ago.

Thousands of spectators at Wimbledon tennis championships also joined in the mourning, with organizer postponing play to observe the silence, as was the case at Silverstone race circuit during Friday free practice for the British Grand Prix.

At the same time, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid and ambassadors of Britain, Ireland and France paid respects to the murdered tourists at the beach where the shooting took place.

Some of the tourists remaining at the resort laid flowers in the sand as officials unveiled a plaque commemorating people killed in the worst attack in Tunisia's history.

Suspects with 'direct links' to the attack arrested

The lone attacker, 23-year-old student Seifeddine Rezgui, was gunned down by the police after he killed 38 people and wounded 39 more. Among his victims were 30 British nationals, with three Irish citizens, two Germans, a Belgian, a Portuguese and a Russian also perishing in the attack.

The self-styled "Islamic State" (IS) group has since claimed responsibility for the shooting.

Tunisian authorities announced on Thursday they had arrested eight people, including a woman, "with direct links" to the beach resort attack.

Crowds also gathered in the capital Tunis late on Thursday to pay their respects, with Muslims and members of other religions holding a moment of silence, after the end of the Ramadan fast.

British parliament to mull over air strikes in Syria

On Thursday, UK Prime Minister Cameron asked lawmakers to consider whether the UK should start targeting IS targets in Syria, joining the US-led campaign.

Although the RAF conducts regular air strikes in Iraq, and flies intelligence drones over Syria, the British military does not have authority to target IS on the other side of the Iraqi border. This is due to the fact that Cameron lost a vote on military action in Syria two years ago, when he sought approval to target Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military.

However, Cameron now has much larger parliamentary support, as well as a different desired target on Syrian soil, and British lawmakers may be willing to reconsider in the wake of the Tunisia massacre.

"This is of course though a new parliament and it is for all members to consider how best to tackle ISIL, an evil caliphate that doesn't respect state boundaries," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said, using an alternative moniker for the IS group.

dj/msh (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)