UK sharpens Tunisia, Israel advice

The UK Foreign Office has revised its travel advice for Tunisia. They are now advising of a high threat from terrorism.The travel advice summary now reads:

“Tunisia shares with the rest of the North African region a high threat from terrorism.

“There was a serious attack on a synagogue in Djerba in Tunisia in 2002, for which Al Qaeda claimed responsibility.

“There is little violent crime and most visits to Tunisia are trouble-free, but visitors should watch out for petty criminals such as pickpockets, particularly in crowded market places.

The UK Foreign Office has also revised its travel advice for Israel and the Occupied Territories.

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They are now urging all British nationals who do not have adequate and continuous professional close security arrangements to leave the Gaza strip.

This is due to the continuing deteriation in the security situation. This advice follows on from the previous update on Friday 23 December advising against all travel to the Gaza strip.

They are advising against all travel to the Gaza strip because of the security situation and continuing threat of kidnap of foreign nationals. Three British nationals were kidnapped in Gaza on 28 December 2005 and were released two days later. British nationals have also been kidnapped in previous incidents.

The UK Foreign Office is also urging all British nationals who do not have adequate and continuous professional close security arrangements to leave the Gaza strip. If you decide to stay against this advice, you should review your security arrangements and seek professional security advice on whether they are adequate. Should the security situation deteriorate further in the Gaza strip, the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem, will only be able to offer limited consular assistance.

They advise against all but essential travel to the West Bank apart from Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem.

They also advise against all but essential travel along Israel’s border with Lebanon, and close to the Israeli side of the Israel/Gaza Strip border. You should take care at crossing points between Israel and Jordan.

While there has been a reduction in the level of violence in 2005, a high threat from terrorism and military activity in Israel and in the Occupied Territories remains. In the most recent incident in Israel, on 5 December 2005, there was an explosion in a shopping centre in Netanya killing five people and injuring 30. On 26 October 2005, a suicide bomber mounted an attack at a marketplace in Hadera killing six and injuring 55.

They say that if you are planning to travel to Israel or the Occupied Territories, you should be very careful about your personal security arrangements throughout your visit. Developments in the region could affect the security situation. You should check the FCO website regularly for updated advice. There are limits to the level of consular assistance we can provide in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

They strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling to Israel or to the Occupied Territories.

You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
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