The foreign office guidance issued yesterday evening forced British tour operators to halt all holidays to Tunisia in a massive blow to a key sector of its economy. "We will ring the British Prime Minister to tell him we have done everything we can to protect all British interests and those of others countries -- that's out duty," Esebsi told a late-night session of Parliament.

"Britain is free to take whatever decision it likes – it's a sovereign country -- but we too are a sovereign country and we have a position to take," he added. Prime Minister did not elaborate on what that position might be but he told lawmakers that the British decision would 'have repercussions.'

Tunisia has brought in a raft of new security measures, including arming tourist police, since a jihadist gunman killed 38 foreign holidaymakers, 30 of them Britons, at the beach resort of Port El Kantaoui on June 26.

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