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Irish are warned off travelling to troubled region

IRISH nationals are being advised not to travel to parts of the Middle East as violence continues to flare-up across the region.

An Irish citizen was injured earlier this month in clashes between pro- and anti-government supporters in Egypt.

However, there have been no further reports of injury and no Irish fatalities in the region since protests began to spread from Tunisia at the start of the year.

The situation in Tunisia, where demonstrations forced the Ben Ali dictatorship to step down in January, has begun to stabilise according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Yesterday the department downgraded advice against non-essential travel to Tunisia to "exercise extreme caution".

However, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Iran and Yemen are still no-go areas for Irish travellers.

"Our advice on Egypt changed at the height of the protests a few days ago, we are advising against all travel to the country," a spokesman for the department said yesterday.

Flights are still being made available for Irish who work or have family in the country. The 200 Irish nationals in Bahrain have been advised to register online with the Irish embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, if they have not already done so.

The department is expected to upgrade from a warning of extreme caution to one against all non-essential travel to the country in the coming days.

The state response to protests calling for sweeping political change left four dead in the country's capital, Manama, yesterday.

Irish Independent