An Irish woman is among at least 28 people who have been killed in a terror attack in a popular holiday resort in Tunisia, with many of the others understood to be British and German tourists.
A man armed with a Kalashnikov opened fire in the attack on two luxury hotels in the town of Sousse, sparking panic among holidaymakers.
I just ran to the sea to my childrenEyewitness
Belgian tourists and Tunisian nationals are also said to be among the dead, while at least another 36 people have been injured.
Confirming the death of the Irish woman, Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan said efforts were ongoing to determine if any other citizens had been injured or killed.
“Our people have been in contact with the family, with their relatives,” he said.
“We cannot exclude the possibility of further Irish involvement. We are actively engaged in seeking further information.”
Mr Flanagan added that support was also being provided to others still in the North African country.
“Our priority will be the safe return of Irish citizens at the earliest opportunity,” he said, urging tourists to exercise extreme caution if planning to travel to Tunisia.
Tunisia’s Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui said: “A terrorist infiltrated the buildings from the back before opening fire on the residents of the hotel, including foreigners and Tunisians.”
Officials had initially suspected two gunmen were involved, but have since confirmed that one man was acting alone. He was shot dead by police.
Some frightened hotel residents barricaded themselves in their rooms, but described seeing authorities lockdown the area and start to remove bodies from around the pool area.
Urgent talks are being held with tour operators over whether or not to bring tourists home from Tunisia and cancel booked holidays.
“There are not going to be any snap decisions,” a spokeswoman for Abta, the Association of British Travel Agents, said.
“But if anyone is due to travel today or tomorrow, we would advise people to get in touch with their tour operator.
“People travelling after that or who have flights booked should wait to call their tour operator as the phone lines will be very busy, and the priority will be with people flying out today and tomorrow.”
Martin Skelly, President of the Irish Travel Agents’ Association, added: “We are deeply saddened by the news that an Irish woman has lost her life in the terror attack in Tunisia.
“A number of ITAA travel agents and tour operators operate holidays to Tunisia and we will be working closely with them and the Department of Foreign Affairs to assist anyone currently in Tunisia, or with outstanding bookings for travel to Tunisia.”
An eye-witness from Dublin told RTÉ Radio: “I thought: ‘Oh my God, it sounds like gunfire’.
“So I just ran to the sea to my children and grabbed our things. As I was running towards the hotel, the waiters and the security on the beach started saying: ‘Run, run, run!’
“We just ran to our room, so we are actually trapped in it.”