UAE terrorism: FCDO issues warning to British holidaymakers – is Dubai safe?

Tony Blair calls for more UK counter-terrorism measures

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is increasingly growing in popularity among sun-seeking tourists, with Dubai alone attracting 1.2 million Britons annually in 2019 alone. As many Britons return to the winter sunshine hotspot now Covid restrictions have eased, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is continually updating its travel advice pages for UK holidaymakers.

The latest update warns Britons of the potential for terrorist attacks across the nation – some of which the travel authority says could target “British nationals”.

Although terrorist attacks in the UAE are rare, the FCDO warns: “Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.”

In its most recent advice, on November 16, 2021, the FCDO urged visiting Britons to be “vigilant at this time”.

The FCDO explained: “Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.

“These include references to attacks on western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, beaches, shopping centres and mosques.

“You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places and at public events.

“There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.”

The travel authority also warns that “attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”

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However, terrorism attacks can be difficult to predict.

The most recent terrorist attack in the UAE took place in Abu Dhabi in 2014, when Kindergarten teacher Ibolya Ryan was murdered.

The move to classify the incident as an act of terrorism was not taken lightly in Abu Dhabi.

Though the FCDO reports threats, attacks in Dubai – one of the most popular tourist spots in the Emirates – are extremely rare.

In a bid to provide peace of mind for holidaymakers, regardless of their chosen destination, the UK’s Counter-Terrorism Police offers advice for those due to travel.

It states: “The chances of being caught up in a terrorist incident are low but sadly we have seen atrocities take place in the UK and abroad. It is important everyone stays alert and knows what to do if the worst was to happen.

“We offer this advice in the same way airlines show a safety video before take-off. They do not expect anything bad to happen but it is a sensible safety precaution to show people what to do.”

Before travelling, it recommended tourists check the latest FCDO travel advice for their chosen country, and ensure they have adequate travel insurance coverage.

Counter-Terrorism Police also advise the motto of “run, hide, tell” in the event of firearms and weapon attacks while abroad.

They state: “If you hear gunshots you should:

“Run – to a place of safety. This is better than trying to surrender or negotiate.

“Hide – it is better to hide than confront. Barricade yourself in, turn your phone to silent and use only when it is safe to do so.

“Tell – Make sure you know the local emergency numbers in the country you are travelling to. For all EU countries call 112.”

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