LONDON (AP) — The British government on Thursday told all U.K. tourists to leave Tunisia because a terrorist attack is “highly likely.”
The Foreign Office said it is advising against all but essential travel to the North African country. It said that British tourists in Tunisia should contact their travel agents, who will arrange flights to bring them home. Independent travelers were advised to return on scheduled commercial flights.
Thirty-eight tourists, 30 of them British, were killed on June 26 when a gunman stormed the Tunisian beach resort of Sousse. In March, 22 people died in an attack at the National Bardo Museum outside Tunis.
The Foreign Office said it did not have specific information about an imminent attack, but intelligence indicated “that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.”
“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,” it said in a statement.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said officials “have not taken this decision lightly but our first priority will always be the safety of our citizens.”
Travel company Thomas Cook said it would be bringing customers back on its 10 scheduled flights this weekend, and use other airlines if needed. Spokesman Ian Benjafield said the company would get people home “whatever way we can.”
Tour firms Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice all canceled trips to Tunisia through Oct. 31.
The U.K. decision is a major blow to Tunisia’s tourist industry. Hundreds of thousands of British tourists visit Tunisia each year. Many Britons left after the Sousse attack, but some 3,000 are still in Tunisia.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it was observing the situation very closely and adjusting travel advice regularly.
As of now, however, there was no immediate change to its travel advice last updated five days ago. Two Germans were killed in the Sousse attack.