Empty hotels: Tunisia defends efforts to protect foreign tourists after deadly
Empty hotels: Tunisia defends efforts to protect foreign tourists after deadly
UK travel firms bring Britons back from Tunisia amid terror attack fears

Based on Reports Published between Fri Jul 10 18:40:43 2015 and Tue Jul 14 15:49:33 2015

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Information from Fri Jul 10 18:40:43 2015 :

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the British government today urged its citizens in because an extremist attack is "highly likely," saying the North African country hasn't done enough to enhance security.

There were 30 British tourists among the 38 victims killed by an Islamic extremist at a Tunisian beach resort last month.

Such decisions are a new wound for Tunisia's struggling tourism industry and for the nation's reputation as it tries to solidify its new democracy in a volatile region. An attack on the National Bardo Museum in Tunis in March left 22 dead, mostly foreign tourists.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid said Friday that his government would help evacuate Britions. "We did everything in our power to protect (British) citizens and their interests, as well as those of all other countries," Essid told lawmakers during a security debate.

The interior minister said the brigade was plotting attacks in Tunisia and sending Tunisians to fight jihad abroad. Tunisia deployed about 3,000 armed policeman in hotels and on beaches to protect tourists after the worst attack in the country Tunisia, the only country to succeed in building a democracy after Arab Spring uprisings, is trying to defuse criticism from Britain and others that it hasn't done enough to protect tourists. Holiday company Thomas Cook said a flight from Tunisia was due to land in Manchester on Friday and smaller rival Monarch said it too was operating a rescue flight.

Hotels in the resort of Hammamet were largely empty of foreign tourists Friday. At one, the swimming pool glistened in the Mediterranean sun, unperturbed by swimmers.

British Embassy officials were helping Friday with departures of British tourists at the Enfidha airport, but would not talk about the ramifications of the government's warning.

The head of the Islamist party Ennahda's group in parliament, Noureddine Bhiri, called the British decision "manifestly damaging to Tunisia and its democratic process." A French diplomat said French, British and German governments will work with Tunisia, notably in improving airport security and protecting tourist sites and foreign companies.

The diplomat, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said Western experts would meet next week in Tunis to discuss security measures.

The Tunisian Parliament is debating counter-terrorism legislation that rights groups say would threaten hard-won freedoms. The government says limits on some freedoms are necessary to ensure security.

The government has carried out 7,000 security operations since the museum killing, arresting 1,000 people and stopping 15,000 young people from traveling to fight jihad abroad, Essid said, and was working to remedy "shortcomings."

"Our country is going through a delicate situation, and is in danger," he said.

France's Foreign Ministry on Friday urged its citizens in Tunisia to be "particularly vigilant" but stopped short of urging departures. Germany, two of whose citizens died in the Sousse shooting, made no immediate change to its travel advice. Ireland urged its citizens to leave if their presence in Tunisia was not essential.

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Information from Fri Jul 10 18:40:46 2015 :
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Although we have had good cooperation from the Tunisian government, including putting in place additional security measures, the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, reinforcing our view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely, Tunisian police officers stay in the lobby of an hotel where a terrorist attack took place in the coastal town of Sousse, Tunisia, June 26, 2015. An attack that killed at least 28 people at a Tunisian beach resort ?was one of three deadly attacks from Europe to the Middle East.

Leila Khemissi/AP Photo Saying another terrorist attack is On balance, 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. re in Tunisia and you don t have an essential need to remain, you should leave by commercial means, the statement says. Late last month 38 foreign tourists were killed, including 30 Britons, at a popular beach resort in Tunisia when a gunman pulled a Kalashnikov rifle from under an umbrella and opened fire on the vacationers.

Today's advisory went on to say that "tourist resorts" could be targeted "by individuals unknown to the authorities whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups via social media."

"The Tunisian authorities have increased their security measures but have also acknowledged the limitations of their ability to counter the current terrorist threat," the advisory said.

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Information from Fri Jul 10 22:40:55 2015 :
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In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, bodies are covered on a Tunisian beach, in Sousse.

The British government on Thursday, July 9, 2015 told all U. K. tourists to leave Tunisia because a terrorist attack is "highly likely" and the North African country's government has not done enough to enhance security. Danica Kirka and Ashley Chan in London, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

The Associated Press Tunisia's security forces led a counterterrorism sweep in a mountainous central region Friday and killed five suspected extremists even as Western governments were calling their nationals home from a country they deem unsafe. Tunisian Interior Ministry spokesman Walid Louguini told The Associated Press that a gunfight erupted Friday morning as a special national guard unit chased eight suspected extremists in the Ouled Bouomrane area.

He said the number of security officers at tourist sites was doubled to 3,000, and more than 100,000 personnel from the police, national guard, civil protection agency and army are now involved in the government's overall security efforts. The army and national guard operation came a day after Britain's government urged all U. K. tourists to leave Thirty British tourists were among 38 victims killed by an Islamic extremist at beach resort in coastal Sousse on June 26.

Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid, speaking in a parliamentary debate, said his government "did everything in our power to protect (British) citizens and their interests, as well as those of all other countries."

Many Western European tour operators suspended trips to Tunisia following the Sousse killings. and Finland all discouraged citizens from non-essential travel to Tunisia. Myles Roberts, a 37-year-old Londoner, arrived in Tunisia on Wednesday a one-week trip.

He said he was "reluctant to leave" but had no other way to get back home because Thomas Cook made plain that there would be no flights out after Sunday.

He said Britain's call for travelers to return was tantamount to giving in to terrorism.

"We had IRA (Irish Republican Army) for 40 years, and we had 7/7," Roberts said, referring to attacks in London that killed 52 subway and bus passengers on July 7, 2005.

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Information from Sat Jul 11 08:40:48 2015 :
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Tourists arrive at the Enfidha international airport, as they wait to leave Tunisia, yesterday after Britain warned another attack was two weeks after a gunman killed 38 foreign holidaymakers at a beachside hotel. s ambassador suggested the warning played into the hands of militants, saying they would feed on the hopelessness that would grip the country if its tourism industry collapsed.

Thirty Britons were killed when Saif Rezgui used a Kalashnikov to gun down tourists at a beach hotel in Sousse on Tunisia s Mediterranean coast, the biggest loss of British lives in such an incident since the July 2005 bombings in London. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement. Hammond said more work was needed to protect tourists and British tourists were instructed to leave.

Tour operators put on extra flights to return some of the estimated 3,000 Britons holidaying in Tunisia.

Ireland and Denmark warned their citizens against non-essential travel to Tunisia.

Islamic State militants, controlling large parts of Iraq and Syria, have claimed responsibility for the attack in Tunisia, which is struggling with a rise in Islamist militancy despite its relatively peaceful transition to democracy after the 2011 This is what the terrorists want, Nabil Ammar, the Tunisian ambassador to Britain, told BBC television on Thursday night.

Hotels have to close and this is an important industry. One of the sources of terrorism is lack of hope. Tourism accounts for about seven per cent of the Tunisian economy and is a major source of foreign currency and employment.

Hundreds of British tourists were waiting at Enfidha airport close to the main reports of Sousse and Hammamet. s been difficult and we feel for the Tunisian people because its their livelihood, said Christian, a British tourist leaving for Britain.

But now we have no choice; we have to go home.

Thomas Cook and TUI, which operates Thomson and First Choice holidays, said they had cancelled all future bookings to Tunisia up to the end of October.

Last year about 400,000 Britons holidayed in Tunisia, compared with 425,000 from Germany and 760,000 from France.

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Information from Sat Jul 11 15:41:49 2015 :
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The government is smarting from the British government's decision this week to urge tourists to leave the North African country because of security fears.

Most of those killed in a June 26 attack by an Islamic extremist on a beach resort were British tourists.

Government minister Kamel Jendoubi told reporters in Tunis on Saturday that his country understands the British move but regrets it too.

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Information from Mon Jul 13 01:44:23 2015 :
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The Tunisian minister called the operation a major security success. Islamic extremists killed 60 people in attacks on a beach resort and major museum in recent months.

The brigade, based in the mountains near the Algerian border, is allied with al-Qaida's North African branch.

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