U.S. Embassy Tunis, Tunisia
With the return of the summer travel and tourist season, the U.S. Embassy alerts U.S. citizens visiting or resident in Tunisia to the risks of travel to Tunisia and recommends that U.S. citizens in Tunisia maintain a high level of vigilance. The Tunisian government has shown its commitment to addressing security concerns and maintains a high security presence at tourist locations. However, challenges persist, including the continued possibility of attacks on foreign tourists and Tunisian and western interests.
U.S. citizens should exercise extreme caution when going to public venues that are visited by large numbers of foreigners, such as hotels, shopping centers, tourist sites, public beaches, and restaurants. Two recent attacks targeting tourists killed a number of foreign nationals: March 18, 2015, at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, and June 26, 2015, near Sousse at the Riu Imperial Marhaba and Riu Bellevue Park hotels. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for both attacks.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution when using public transportation due to safety and security concerns. Bus drivers often drive at excessive speeds and have poor safety records. Buses and intra-city trains are often overcrowded, and the likelihood of being a victim of crime increases. U.S. citizens should vary times and routes while commuting or travelling.
U.S. citizens are reminded they should exercise caution and avoid areas where large gatherings may occur. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should monitor local events, report suspicious activity to the local police, and take appropriate steps to bolster their own security.
U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility of kidnapping.
On November 24, 2015, President Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency that grants security forces more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism. This state of emergency was extended on July 20 for an additional two months, expiring September 20.
Travelers contemplating trips to the interior of the country should assess local conditions and routes when making travel plans. In particular, all travel south of the designated military zone in the south must be coordinated in advance with Tunisian authorities. Also, travel to either the Algerian or Libyan border should be avoided if possible, given the periodic security incidents along the border regions. For further information, we refer you to the Worldwide Caution and Tunisia’s current Travel Warning, dated April 1, 2016.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia located at North East Zone Berges du Lac, North of Tunis 2045 La Goulette, at +216 71 107 000, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is+216 71 107 000.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
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