Emirates stops flying to Tunisia

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Tunisia late on Sunday suspended flights from Dubai carrier Emirates to Tunis, with officials saying the airline was refusing to carry female Tunisian travelers.

Many Tunisian social media users slammed the move, accusing the UAE of discrimination against women.

Tit-for-tat flight suspensions between the United Arab Emirates and Tunisia erupted after women suspected of returning from fighting with ISIS were banned from flights.

"We should avoid misleading attempts".

Tunisian rights groups issued a statement on Saturday condemning the UAE measures as "discriminatory and racist".

Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have received numerous reports from Tunisian women claiming to have been delayed, forced to undergo additional screening of their visas, and denied boarding.

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The measure created great controversy, said Saeeda Qarrash, but the UAE feared that women traveling with a Tunisian passport may commit a security act.

The Tunisian president's spokeswoman, Saidra Qrash, said that security agencies in some countries have warned recently that a number of Tunisian women, or women who carry Tunisian passports, have returned from Syria and Iraq where they had fought with ISIS, reported Gulf News.

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.

UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash wrote on Twitter that the ban was temporary and due to security reasons.

Tunisia had expressed its understanding of the UAE concerns, he said.

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