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Tunisian beach hotel attack: Obama offers U.S. help

Seven arrests are reported to have been made in the attack that killed 38 people at a beach resort, a Tunisian official tells the Associated Press.

Tunisian authorities arrest 7 in massacre of tourists

Tourists pay their respects Monday in front of a makeshift memorial at the beach near the Imperial Marhaba resort in Sousse, Tunisia, which was attacked by a gunman on Friday. (Zohra Bensemra/Reuters)

U.S. President Barack Obama is offering American assistance to the investigation into the attack at a beach resort in Tunisia that killed 38 people.

The White House says Obama offered condolences and support on behalf of himself and all Americans and pledged additional co-operation with Tunisia in a phone call with Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi ..

Obama also spoke with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Most of the people killed in the attack were British. The White House says Obama offered condolences and prayers, and the leaders said they were committed to working with other partners in Europe and the Middle East to counter violent extremism.

Seven people are being interrogated in Tunis, the country's capital, in the investigation into a deadly beach resort attack, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

The source said four people were arrested Monday — two in the resort town of Sousse where the attack occurred, one in Tunis and one in the restive city of Kasserine. Three others were arrested Sunday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be publicly named.

Earlier, Tunisia's interior minister said multiple arrests have been made in the attack. Without giving numbers,Mohamed Najem Gharsalli said Monday that everyone arrested is Tunisian and the investigation remained in its early stages.

Attacker killed

The 24-year-old attacker, who used a Kalashnikov assault rifle and grenades, was killed by police after Friday's carnage in Sousse.

Tunisian authorities say he was the sole attacker, but he had accomplices who provided him with weapons and logistical support. Many of those killed were British tourists

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday pledged a wide response to extremism, describing Britain as being united in grief over the beach massacre in Tunisia. He also received a phone call from Obama on Monday.

Fifteen Britons are confirmed dead, but officials have warned that could rise as high as 30, making it the worst terror attack on U.K. citizens since the July 7, 2005, London transport attacks that killed 52 commuters. Cameron insisted the nation would not be cowed.

"To our shock and grief we must add another word: resolve. Unshakeable resolve. We will stand up for our way of life," Cameron wrote. "So ours must be a full-spectrum response - a response at home and abroad; in the immediate aftermath and far into the future."

U.K. deploys special police

Some 600 British counterterrorism police — one of the force's largest such deployments in recent years — have been deployed as part of the investigation into Friday's attack at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel in the beach resort of Sousse. Officers have also been deployed at airports to meet and support travellers and to help identify witnesses.

Home Secretary Theresa May is travelling to the north African nation for talks on the extremist threat and to offer condolences for the slain tourists. A Royal Air Force transport plane is also being deployed to bring stranded families home. Cameron told the BBC that the government is working as fast as possible to give families information.

This image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State extremists, posted Saturday, purports to show Tunisian gunman Seifeddine Rezgui who killed tens of people in the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse on Friday. (Associated Press)

Cameron described the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also referred to as ISIL, as using ancient barbarism and combining it with propaganda — using social media as its primary weapon.

"We must look at how we can work with countries like Tunisia to counter this online propaganda," he wrote. "We must also deal with it at its source, in places like Syria, Iraq and Libya, from where ISIL is peddling and plotting its death cult."

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