Tunisia has arrested eight people in connection with last week’s jihadist massacre at a seaside resort, as the remains of more British victims were set to be flown home.
“Eight people with direct links to the carrying out of the operation, including a woman, have been arrested,” said Kamel Jendoubi, a minister who heads a crisis group set up after the attack.
“The security services have been able to … uncover and destroy the network that was behind this operation,” Jendoubi told a news conference on Thursday, without specifying whether more arrests would be made.
Seifeddine Rezgui, a 23-year-old student, gunned down 38 foreign tourists in Friday’s attack after pulling a Kalashnikov assault rifle from a beach umbrella at the Port El Kantaoui resort south of Tunis.
Thirty of the victims were Britons and Jendoubi said British authorities were assisting with the investigation.
The jihadist massacre was Tunisia’s worst and involved Britain’s highest loss of life in such an attack since the July 2005 London bombings.
After the attack – which was claimed by the jihadist Islamic State group – Tunisia’s government pledged to boost security around hotels, beaches and attractions.
Jendoubi said 1377 extra armed security officers had been deployed to reinforce police already on the ground.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Thursday confirmed Tunisia’s formal identification of 30 of the victims as British citizens.
The bodies of eight Britons were flown on Wednesday to a Royal Air Force station north of London, in a solemn ceremony reminiscent of the repatriation of fallen soldiers.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to back a full investigation into the attack, calling for “a response at home and abroad” to violent Islamic fundamentalism.
Friday’s attack was the second on tourists in Tunisia claimed by ISIL in just three months, after the extremist group said it was behind a March attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis that killed 22 people.