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Description: The first Britons are expected to arrive back in the UK later. Some still waiting to leave Sousse spoke of their disappointment - and fears - over the fresh advice, saying they felt there was no optio

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Tunisia Britons fly home after alert
« on: July 10, 2015, 07:05:18 PM »

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Tunisia Britons fly home after alert


   

Tunisia travel alert: Thousands of Britons to fly home



   
   

       
  •    
    10 July 2015


  •    
  • From the section UK



   

       
Police officers patrol the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia

                        Security has been stepped up in the wake of the attack in Sousse
                   

               

Thousands of British holidaymakers are to be flown home from Tunisia following warnings that another terrorist attack in the country is "highly likely".

Thirty Britons were killed in an attack in Sousse last month - and the Foreign Office has now urged all Britons to leave the country.

Extra security measures there did not provide "adequate protection", it said.

Tunisia has criticised the decision, with its ambassador to the UK saying it was "what the terrorists want".

Between 2,500 and 3,000 British package holidaymakers are believed to be in Tunisia, as well as about 500 independent travellers.

The Association of British Travel Agents said its members were aiming to bring customers home in the next 48 hours.

The first Britons are expected to arrive back in the UK later. Some still waiting to leave Sousse spoke of their disappointment - and fears - over the fresh advice, saying they felt there was no option but to leave.

Security 'chaos'

A gunman killed 38 holidaymakers in the 26 June beach attack, prompting Tunisia to declare a state of emergency.

The Tunisian government also increased security in tourist areas, and announced plans for a wall along the border with Libya, to counter the terror threat.

Tunisia believes gunman Seifeddine Rezgui trained with the Ansar al-Sharia group in the neighbouring country, though the Islamic State group has claimed the attack.

Eight people have been arrested on suspicion of collaborating with Rezgui, who was killed after the shooting spree.

The UK government said there was no new "specific or imminent" threat but intelligence had led officials to the view that a further terrorist attack was "highly likely".

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the Tunisian investigation into the Sousse attack - and an attack in March on the Bardo Museum near Tunis which left 22 dead, including one Briton - was continuing and Tunisian authorities had "made clear they want to track down further individuals who they suspect may have links" to the attacks.

He said a security assessment in tourist areas found more work was needed "to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat".

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the gunman's associates were believed to still be at large in Tunisia and, he said, were quite likely to be looking for targets.

He added that at the time of the attack some witnesses, including a former policeman, were convinced they saw a second attacker.

He said the UK's decision was taken "reluctantly" but the intelligence of a threat was "overwhelming".

But a former UK ambassador to Libya questioned why the Foreign Office was focusing on Tunisia when there had been other deadly attacks on the same day in Kuwait and France.

"Is it simply because 30 people got killed there two weeks ago? It's not a good reason," said Oliver Miles.

Michelle Ayres, who is among those waiting to leave Sousse, said tourists were disappointed at having to return home "but they haven't got an option".

She said: "We actually feel we'd be safer in the hotel than leaving it at the moment. We're worried not about getting to the airport. Everybody's thinking 'What's going to happen? Is there a threat to us?' and that's why they're getting us out.

"The people who came in two days ago had armed police chaperone their buses... We didn't have that when we arrived here so something has obviously changed."

'Disbelief and devastation'

Abta said those due to travel to Tunisia should contact the company they had booked through.

Travelling to the country now would be likely to invalidate travel insurance policies, though most policies would provide cover for those already in the country, it added.

BBC North Africa correspondent Rana Jawad, in the capital Tunis, said there was "disbelief and devastation" among hotel workers, who now fear they could lose their jobs as the tourism industry falters. 

Meanwhile, Nabil Ammar, the Tunisian ambassador to the UK, said: "By damaging the tourism, by having foreigners leaving the country, they damage the whole sector and put so many people out of work and on the streets."

Tour operators Thomson and First Choice had already cancelled all flights to the country for the rest of the summer season. They have also decided to repatriate all their British staff currently working in Tunisia "within the next 24 hours".

Thomas Cook, which has cancelled all bookings to Tunisia until 31 October, said it was putting on an extra flight on Friday to bring customers back to the UK.

A spokesman said customers would be flown back to the UK "as soon as we can using third-party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend".

Meanwhile, Monarch Airlines said it was arranging to repatriate all customers in resorts back to the UK "as soon as possible".

It comes as the funeral of two victims of the attack - Jim and Anne McQuire, from Cumbernauld - will be held in their home town later.


               

                        Thirty of the victims of the 26 June attack were British
                   

               

The British victims of the Sousse attack

Background and analysis

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TJ

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Re: Tunisia Britons fly home after alert
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 01:00:31 AM »
You never know where terrorism might strike next

I wonder where the source of this comes from ?

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