With reporting from Victoria Scott
The British government has updated its travel advice for Qatar this week, saying terrorist attacks in the country are now “likely” and “could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.”
The same information has been posted on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advice pages for the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.
It said that “terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region,” adding:
“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. Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.”
However, this does not mean the UK has any knowledge of specific threats to Qatar or other nations.
A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Qatar told Doha News that the “change has been made as part of a global review of the way we describe terrorism threats in travel advice.”
She added, “We are replacing the previous level system with more detailed information for each country. Our priority remains the safety of British nationals overseas.”
Qatar officials have not commented on the warning, but Kuwait’s news agency on Sunday called the change “a routine measure.”
KUNA added that its interior ministry has not received any information from the UK about potential threats this week.
Before Jan. 20, the FCO’s online travel advice for Qatar stated that its nationals are at a “general” risk of potential attacks.
The threat level in Doha had been raised in November, but no specific reason was given for this.
However, even with the updated advice, Qatar appears to be less at risk of an attack than the UK itself.
According to British security service MI5, the threat level for international terrorism in the UK is considered “severe.”