Thousands of Britons repatriated from Tunisia

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Tour operators have repatriated around 3,500 Britons from crisis-hit Tunisia in the last few days, the Foreign Office said Sunday.

"There's been 3,500 British nationals who have been flown home in the last 48 hours by the larger tour companies," a spokeswoman told AFP.

"We still estimate there are between 1,000 and 1,500 British nationals in Tunisia," she said, adding that these were independent travellers, people who had booked through smaller tour companies or expats living in Tunisia.

Separately, the British arm of major European travel operator TUI said nearly 1,500 customers booked on its Thomson and First Choice package holidays had arrived back in Britain since Friday.

"Leading tour operators Thomson and First Choice have completed the repatriation of their package holiday customers from Tunisia following the current civil unrest," TUI UK said in a statement.

Spokesman Christian Cull added: "We remain focused on customer safety, our top priority at all times."

Tunisia's main legal political parties held talks on Sunday on the formation of a national unity government amid continued fears over supporters of ousted strongman Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Officials said the government would investigate killings of civilians during the wave of protests that led to Ben Ali's abrupt departure after 23 years in power and would look into allegations of corruption of his inner circle.

© 2011 AFP

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