UK advises British tourists to leave Tunisia

The British Foreign Office urged UK tourists to leave Tunisia warning of terror risk

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The British government Thursday called on UK tourists to leave Tunisia warning of a "highly likely" terror attack after last month's beach massacre that left 30 Britons dead.

“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,” the ministry statement said.

It also advised against all non-essential travel to Tunisia.

"The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel... If you're in Tunisia and you don't have an essential need to remain you should leave by commercial means.”

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said officials "have not taken this decision lightly but our first priority will always be the safety of our citizens."

Speaking of Tunisian authorities, the foreign Office said it judges that “more work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat.”

A spokeswoman for the UK Foreign Office initially told Al Arabiya News they were not discouraging travel to Tunisia.

However, an unnamed source explained to Al Arabiya News Thursday that an update to the travel advice was based on “new intelligence information.”

Tunisia depends heavily on foreign tourism and hundreds of thousands of British tourists visit the African nation every year. The decision presents a major blow to the industry.

British tourists were urged in the statement to contact their travel agents, which will arrange flights to bring them home.

An estimated 2,500-3,000 British tourists are thought to be in Tunisia on holiday, according to British officials.

(with Agencies)

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