Tunisia Attack: UK Tourists Urged To Leave Country

Police on the beach in Sousse

All British nationals are being urged to leave Tunisia because “a further terrorist attack is highly likely”, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says.

Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists killed in an attack there last month.

The Foreign Office estimates 2,500 to 3,000 UK tourists are in Tunisia and a few hundred British residents.

Mr Hammond said there was no suggestion of a “specific or imminent threat”, but said the FCO was advising against all non-essential travel there.

‘More work needed’

The Foreign Office said that despite more security measures being put in place by Tunisian authorities, these do not “provide adequate protection for British tourists”.

It said in its updated advice that tour operators were arranging additional flights back to the UK.

Britons are urged to get in touch with their tour operators to plan their return, with those travelling independently advised to return on commercial flights.

Tunisia declared a state of emergency after the 26 June attack.

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Mr Hammond said: “While we do not have any information suggesting a specific or imminent threat, since the attack in Sousse the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, leading us to the view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.”

He went on: “The Tunisian investigation into those behind the Sousse attack, and that on the Bardo Museum earlier this year, is on-going and the Tunisians have made clear they want to track down further individuals who they suspect may have links to this attack.

“Furthermore, we have now completed an assessment of the security measures in tourist areas and while we are working with the Tunisian authorities to further strengthen those measures, we judge that more work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat.

“Taking all these factors together, we judge that it is right and prudent to make this change today.”

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Thirty of the victims of the 26 June attack were British..

The Association of British Travel Agents said those due to travel to Tunisia should contact the company they booked through.

Travelling to Tunisia now is likely to invalidate travel insurance policies, but most policies will provide cover for those currently in the country, it added.

A spokeswoman said: “Those with holidays booked within the next 48 hours to Tunisia are advised to contact your travel company to discuss available options. If you have booked a package you will be entitled to a refund or alternative holiday.”

Thomas Cook has cancelled all its bookings to Tunisia up until the end of October, saying the “safety and well-being” of its customers were its key concern.

“In response to the recent change in FCO advice we have taken this decision to bring all Thomas Cook customers back to the UK as soon as we can using third party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend,” a spokesman said. “Thomas Cook is strongly advising its guests in the country to return on these flights.”

The holiday firm is sending specialist assistance teams to support its customers and bring them back to the UK “as soon as possible”.

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Background and analysis

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