Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Tunisia and there have been a number of attacks in recent years. A state of emergency – in effect since a suicide attack on a police bus on 24 November 2015 – has been extended several times, most recently on 12 March 2018 by 7 months. You should be vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials, including in and around religious sites.
The main terrorist threat is from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Libya-based extremists with links to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Despite some improvements in border security, Tunisia has a porous border with Libya, where there’s a continuing conflict, an absence of security, and where Islamist terrorist groups operate. Tunisian security forces have repeatedly been targeted in terrorist-related incidents, mainly in border areas including in the Chaambi Mountains.
Recent incidents include:
- on 1 November 2017, 2 traffic police officers in the Bardo area of central Tunis were attacked by an individual with a knife. One of the officers later died from their wounds. A suspect was detained by security forces
on 11 May 2016, a number of suspected terrorists were killed or arrested during armed clashes with security forces in the Mnihla distric of greater Tunis and 4 national guards were also killed by a suicide bomb during a security operation in Tataouine in southern Tunisia
in early March 2016, security forces repelled attacks by terrorists in Ben Guerdane, close to the Libyan border; over 60 fatalities resulted, the majority of which were terrorists; members of the security forces and civilians were also killed
on 24 November 2015, 12 security personnel were killed in a suicide attack on a police bus on Avenue Mohammed V in central Tunis
on 26 June 2015, 38 foreign tourists were killed, including 30 British nationals, in a terrorist attack at Port El Kantaoui near Sousse
- on 18 March 2015, 21 tourists were killed, including a British national, in a terrorist attack at the Bardo Museum in the centre of Tunis
The Tunisian authorities regularly report that they have disrupted planned attacks and terrorist cells, and made arrests. The Tunisian authorities have improved security in tourist resorts and their ability to respond to a terrorist incident. Tunisian security forces have also improved and are better prepared to tackle terrorist threats than they were at the time of the 2015 attacks. But further attacks remain likely, including in places visited by foreigners such as tourist resorts. Attacks may be carried out by individuals unknown to the authorities, whose actions may be inspired by terrorist groups.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time. Keep up to date with this travel advice, and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.