Emirates stops flights to Tunisia after 'instruction'

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CONTROVERSIAL security measures taken by the United Arab Emirates against Tunisian women trying to travel to the Gulf state were prompted by fears of a terrorist attack, Tunisia said today.

"Based on the higher travel advisory restriction issued by the United Arab Emirates government, airlines are instructed that all Tunisian female nationals will be denied entry to the UAE by API-UAE", read an internal Emirates Airline email.

On Sunday evening he said "security information" had caused the delays to the passengers' flights and that both countries were in contact about the measures.

UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said the two countries had been communicating over "security measure information" without explaining in detail what this meant.

The Dubai carrier, however, didn't disclose the reason behind the Tunisian authorities decision.

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Tunisia bans UAE airlines from landing in its territory.

"In the UAE, we are proud of empowering women, we appreciate Tunisian women, and respect them".

The travel ban has sparked a wave of fierce criticism in Tunisia. He added: "The Tunisian woman has exposed their failings once again; suddenly many of them have become dumb and abandoned their pens, while human rights activists have suddenly disappeared".

Tunisian civil organizations and political parties called on the government to respond.

Tunisia has been trying to fix diplomatic ties with the UAE damaged by its 2011 revolution and after the Islamic party Al-Nahda, which has strong links with Qatar, came to power in the North African country.