As the map below shows, France is one of more than 40 countries around the world where the threat from terrorism is rated “high” by the Foreign Office.
The country had the top terror threat level long before last night’s attack in Nice, in which at least 84 people were killed.
“There is a high threat from terrorism,” The Foreign Office states on its website. “Attacks could be indiscriminate. Due to ongoing threats to France by Islamist terrorist groups, and recent French military intervention against Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL), the French government has warned the public to be especially vigilant and has reinforced its security measures.
“High profile terrorist attacks have taken place in Paris in 2015 and other smaller attacks have taken place across France,” it adds. “On 7 January 2015, terrorists attacked the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ offices. On 9 January 2015 there were further attacks at a Jewish supermarket in Porte de Vincennes, Paris, and a police officer was shot dead in Montrouge. On 21 August 2015 there was a terrorist attack on the Amsterdam to Paris high speed Thalys train service. On 13 November 2015 terrorist attacks killed 130 and injured hundreds more at multiple sites across Paris.”
Other countries where the threat from terrorism is rated “high” include Turkey and Belgium. Last month 45 people were killed in an attack at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport attack, while the Brussels bombings in March left 35 dead.
Turkey has witnessed a string of attacks this year, in Istanbul, as well as Ankara and Gaziantep, in which more than 100 have been killed.
“The threat from terrorism remains high,” the Foreign Office says. “Terrorist groups, including Kurdish groups, Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL) and far left organisations, continue to plan and carry out attacks. Further attacks are likely. Terrorist groups, including Daesh and the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), have publicly threatened to attack tourist sites in Turkey. You should take extra care in public places – particularly those visited by foreigners. Be vigilant, follow the advice of local security authorities, monitor media reports and keep up to date with this travel advice.”
In its advice for Belgium, it says: “Brussels hosts a number of international institutions (EU and NATO) and government and foreign embassy buildings which are sensitive locations.”
The terror threat is also “high” in Egypt, where a Russian aircraft was bombed last year, Tunisia, where 30 Britons were killed in a massacre last summer, Indonesia, Russia, Myanmar, Kenya, the Philippines, Colombia, Thailand and Australia.
The inclusion of much of the Middle East, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Afghanistan, will come as no surprise.
The Foreign Office uses four ratings when judging the threat of a terrorist attack in its travel advice: high, general, underlying and low.
Countries where the terror threat is low include Iceland, Bolivia, Ecuador, Poland, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Vietnam and Japan.
The UK terror threat level, assessed by MI5, is more fluid, with five categories ranging from “low” to “critical”. The UK terror threat level is currently “severe”, the second highest rating.
Destinations with a “high” threat of terror
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Ivory Coast
- Palestinian territories
- Saudi Arabia
- Western Sahara