British nationals advised to leave Tunisia due to security threat
Britain is advising Britons in Tunisia to leave the country saying that there is a high possibility of another terrorist attack occurring. According to Foreign Office, there are between 2,500 and 3,000 UK tourists in Tunisia with only hundreds of them being British residents. Britain warns its citizens in the country saying that Tunisia is no longer able to offer them ‘adequate protection.’
This warning follows the beach hotel attack during which at least 38 individuals majority of whom were Britons were killed- http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/09/africa/tunisia-uk-advisory/index.html (follow the link for more information). The advisory from the foreign office urged British nationals in Tunisia to use commercial means to leave the country if they do not have important reasons for being in the country.
The office is also advising against non-essential trips to Tunisia. The advisory noted that although there are security measures that Tunisia authorities have implemented, they are not adequate in protecting British tourist- http://www.skynews.com.au/news/top-stories/2015/07/10/uk-advises-its-nationals-to-leave-tunisia.html (follow the link for more information).
According to the ambassador of Tunisia to the United Kingdom, Nabil Ammar, the decision by the foreign office was exactly what terrorists wanted. Nabil said that this decision would damage the tourist industry of the country. A freelance journalist within Tunis, the Tunisia capital, Naveena Kotoor said that people have been devastated by this advice.
The updated advice, FCO said that additional flights to the United Kingdome were being arranged by tour operators. It urged Britons to contact tour operators immediately. Independent travelers were advised to use commercial flights during their return flights.
A state of emergency that will last for 30 days was declared by President Beji Caid Essebsi following the 26 June attack. The attack happened in Port EI Kantaoui which is on the northern side of Sousse. According to witnesses, a gunman shot tourists outside Hotel Rui Imperial Marhaba, a five-star hotel after identifying Seifeddine Rezgui, a Tunisian student- http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/uk-asks-citizens-leave-tunisia-security-threat-150709174029274.html (follow the link for more information).
Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary said that although there is no information that suggests an imminent or specific threat, there has been considerable development of the threat picture and intelligence since the Sousse attack leading the office into considering the possibility of another terrorist attack. He said that a Tunisian investigation is going on in regards to the recent attacks in the country.
The foreign secretary noted that after assessing security measures within the tourist areas, it was established that more efforts need to be put to ensure effective protection of tourists. The Association of British Travel Agents noted that those traveling to Tunisia ought to get in touch with the companies that they booked their flights with.
Currently, flights to Tunisia would most likely invalidate the policies of travel insurance. However, some policies are likely to provide a cover for those in Tunisia at the moment. According to Victoria Bacon, a staff of the association, all members of the association with customers in Tunisia have committed themselves to getting them out of the country within 24 to 48 hours.
Meanwhile some British tourists in Tunisia do not want to leave. Heidi Barlow, who arrived in the country a day before the advisory was issued, said that she was disappointed and shocked. Heidi is from Derbyshire and she is in Hammamet for holiday and she was due to remain in Tunisia until 19 July- http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33469718 (follow the link for more information).