Vigil for Tunisian attack victims
A tourist lights a candle in front of the Imperial Marhabada Hotel, which was attacked by a gunman in Sousse, Tunisia (Reuters)

Tributes are being paid to the 38 people, including at least 15 Britons, killed in Tunisia in an attack near Sousse.

Tunisian student Seifeddine Rezgui, 23, who had links with Islamic State, opened fire on holidaymakers at midday on Friday. He then entered at least one of the hotel lobbies, where grenades were also detonated.

Among the victims of dead were three Irish citizens, one Belgian and a German, who were shot as the lone gunman opened fire at holidaymakers as they sunbathed on the beach near the Imperial Marhaba and Bellevue hotels.

The deaths of Sue Davey and her partner Scott Chalkley, both in their 40s, were confirmed by Ross Chalkley on Twitter.

Many other families are still waiting anxiously for news of their loved ones. Tour companies have been evacuating thousands of foreign holidaymakers from Tunisia a day after the attack.

More than 1,000 British tourists have already returned to the UK, while others are due to fly home today.

The Foreign Office said the death toll is expected to rise and that it will take time to identify all the victims.

Home Secretary Theresa May is currently chairing an emergency Cobra meeting to focus on the Tunisia attacks.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Friday attacks as "cruel and barbaric." In a statement released on Facebook he said: "These terrorists murdered them because the terrorists oppose people and countries who stand for peace, tolerance and democracy wherever they are in the world. But these terrorists will not succeed."

Many took to Twitter to express their shock at what happened on Friday and paid their respects to those who died on Friday.

President Pranab Mukherjee of India said: "My thoughts & prayers are with families of Tunisians & tourists who lost their lives in heinous terrorist attack.

"India stands by people of Tunisia in this difficult hour; we reaffirm our commitment to global efforts against terrorism."

Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham said: "As one watches reports from Tunisia, one can't imagine what the victims' families are going through. Thoughts & prayers are very much with them."

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party said: "All my thoughts today are with those killed, injured or bereaved in the horrific attack in #Tunisia @scotgov in contact with @foreignoffice."

Massacre survivor John Yeoman who barricaded himself in his hotel room, tweeted about his relief at being back home in the UK.

He wrote: "After a long day and a bottle of red wine to numb the experiences of the 34 hours, I'm ready for bed and a cuddle with my wife. Night all."