Foreign Office issues urgent new travel warning for 17 countries

Rambam hospital workers practice a mass casualty drill in Haifa, Israel in the wake of a missile and drone attack from Iran
Rambam hospital workers practice during a mass casualty drill in Haifa, Israel in the wake of a missile and drone attack from Iran -Credit:Getty Images

The Foreign Office today updated its alerts on 12 countries in a warning to travellers. The change happened after an apparent Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the central city of Isfahan in Iran.

The strike early on Friday morning came just days after Tehran’s unprecedented drone and missile assault on Israel. The Foreign Office said there had also been unconfirmed reports of explosions in Syria and Iraq.

In the wake of the latest attacks the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this afternoon advised anyone travelling to more than a dozen countries to carefully check the latest situation before travelling. Anyone going to Egypt, Oman, Algeria, Bahrain, Morocco, Syria, Qatar, Iraq, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are being urged to take extra care.

At the weekend the Foreign Office also issued an urgent travel warning about than 18 countries telling anyone going to countries around the southern Mediterranean and the Middle East that the risk of a terrorist attack is heightened given the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In the new alert the Foreign Office said: “On 13 April 2024 Iran carried out military action against Israel. On 19 April, there have been reports of explosions in Iran, and unconfirmed reports of explosions in Syria and Iraq.

"Monitor this travel advice and other media as the situation is changing fast. Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can also get email notifications when this travel advice is updated. Read FCDO advice on how to deal with a crisis overseas."

Speaking at the G7 meeting in Capri, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the US received “last-minute” information from Israel about the attack on Isfahan. US secretary of state Antony Blinken did not dispute that, but said: “We were not involved in any offensive operations.”

The apparent attack came on Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s 85th birthday. Israeli politicians also made comments hinting that the country had launched an attack. Air defence batteries fired in several provinces over reports of drones being in the air, state television reported. Iranian army commander General Abdolrahim Mousavi said crews had targeted several flying objects.

He said: “The explosion this morning in the sky of Isfahan was related to the shooting of air defence systems at a suspicious object that did not cause any damage.” Authorities said air defences fired at a major air base in Isfahan, which long has been home to Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats – purchased before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The alert was issued overnight and the Foreign Office said in the update for all the countries: ”There is rising tension between Iran and Israel. Any military action could escalate quickly and could pose risks for the wider region. If you are in the region, or considering travel to the region, monitor news updates and continue to check FCDO travel advice for updates.”

Holiday hotspots in the warning are United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Tunisia. Also included in the alert are Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya, Yemen, Qatar, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Oman and Lebanon. Officials believe UK tourists are particularly at risk in the region and say: “There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. You should remain vigilant at all times.

“UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad.” The Foreign Office said a terror attack was ‘likely’ and added that attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on western interests, including against UK citizens. Targets may include: residential compounds, military sites, oil, transport, aviation interests, crowded places, restaurants, hotels, beaches, shopping centres, places of worship.”

People are advised to check the latest advice for the country they are planning on the Foreign Office website by clicking here.