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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Visitors urged to exercise 'extreme caution'

Tourists carry a Tunisian flag along Marhaba beach yesterday in a tribute to the victims of the
massacre. Photo: Getty
Tourists carry a Tunisian flag along Marhaba beach yesterday in a tribute to the victims of the massacre. Photo: Getty
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan

Louise Hogan and Mark O'Regan

Irish holidaymakers staying in Tunisia have been warned to be extra vigilant in the North African country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed three Irish citizens were killed in the terror attack, but said he did not believe any more citizens were seriously injured in the massacre.

The minister said he had been in ongoing contact with Irish diplomatic staff on the ground in Tunis, who were supporting the families of the dead.

"It was a horrific incident particularly people enjoying themselves on holidays, getting a well-earned break, some relaxation to be confronted by random terrorists unexpectedly," he told the Irish Independent.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has not warned people against travelling to the country, but the minister urged holidaymakers to follow advice in the area.

Tour operators are helping thousands leave Tunisia's resorts following the attack. But others - including 112 Irish holidaymakers who flew there on Friday night - have remained.

"The situation is very serious in Tunisia as it is right across north Africa. I'm urging people to be particularly vigilant," he said

"As far as people planning to travel during the summer for a holiday in the area, I would urge that they exercise extreme caution, that they keep in close contact with their tour operator or travel agent and that they keep abreast of developments - it is particular fluid there.

"The authorities in Tunis have said that the horrific events of this week are over. Nevertheless, I'm urging people to take extreme caution in terms of travel to the region."

Mr Flanagan said all the deceased were moved to Tunis to a hospital morgue where formal identifications were under way.

"The injured are being treated in hospitals, there are no reports of any Irish people having been injured," he said.

President Michael D Higgins would get in to contact with both families directly by letter, his spokesman confirmed.

Elsewhere a spokesman for Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he would not be commenting on the atrocity.

"The Department of Foreign Affairs are taking the lead on this," Mr Kenny's spokesman added.

Irish Independent

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