Fears of another highly possible terrorist attack prompted the UK government to issue a travel advice to its nationals to refrain traveling to Tunisia. It also called on nationals already in the North African country to leave the area.
Philip Hammond, the country’s foreign secretary, said the assessment was issued in light of “the intelligence and threat picture which has developed considerably, leading us to the view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.”
A gun attack on a beach and hotel resort in Port El Kantaoui, near Sousse in Tunisia killed 30 Britons in June.
Hammond said investigations of the attacks point to a militant group that was trained in Libya targeting Western tourists. “The Tunisians have made clear they want to track down further individuals,” he said. “More work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat.”
A report by Sky News states Thomson and First Choice, two holiday companies, have started returning their respective staff to the UK.
“We have taken this decision to bring all Thomas Cook customers back to the U.K. as soon as we can, using third-party carriers and on our 10 scheduled flights over the weekend,” the company said in a statement. “Thomas Cook is strongly advising its guests in the country to return on these flights.”
BBC reports Britain’s association of travel agents is working to bring home customers within the next 48 hours.
An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 British package holidaymakers are believed to be in Tunisia. Some 300 independent travelers are likewise there.
Package holidaymakers are advised to contact their tour operators. Independent travelers must immediately make their own arrangements with commercial airlines, the Foreign Office said.
Thomson and First Choice were the companies that brought the 30 Britons who died in Tunisia in June. Both cancelled all of their outbound flights for the summer season to Tunisia, up until October 31.
Although the FCO said the Tunisian government have put in place additional security measures since the attacks, “we do not believe the mitigation measures in place provide adequate protection for British tourists in Tunisia at the present time and we have therefore changed our travel advice accordingly.”