UAE carriers were “banned” from landing in Tunisia after Dubai’s national carrier Emirates refused boarding to Tunisian women under the age of 30.
Initially the Tunisian authorities were reacting to claims that the Emirates action was discriminatory and racial but reports now suggest Tunisia has been made aware of credible intelligence which led to the action by the Gulf carrier.
Last night, Emirates said it was suspending its flights to Tunisia indefinitely shortly after the Tunis government said it had banned UAE carriers.
“As instructed by the Tunisian authorities, Emirates will stop all its services between Dubai and Tunisia starting from 25 December 2017 until further notice. Affected passengers are advised to contact their travel agent or booking office for assistance,” a statement from Emirates said.
Sources suggest that there were intelligence reports regarding young Tunisian women (under the age of 30) who had returned from Syria or Iraq having been fighting with Daesh and were targeting aviation.
It is understood that Tunisia has withdrawn the ban but recognises the validity of the intelligence following a meeting with the UAE ambassador to Tunis.
UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, said on Twitter, “We met with our brothers in Tunisia about security procedures that have been imposed.”
“Here in the UAE, we are proud of our experience in empowering women, we appreciate Tunisian women, respect them and value their pioneering experience, and we see them as the protectors of safety. We will avoid attempts at misinterpretation and misrepresentation.”