Last updated: 04:01 PM ET, Wed March 25 2015

Star Wars Tourism Hotspot Now a Waypoint for ISIS

Impacting Travel | Donald Wood | March 25, 2015

Star Wars Tourism Hotspot Now a Waypoint for ISIS

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

The recent tragedy in Tunisia has been at the forefront of the news since the Bardo Museum was attacked earlier this month, and a memorable small town in the country is making waves again for all the wrong reasons.

According to Arwa Damon and Tim Lister of, the Tunisian town of Tataouine was the well-known backdrop of the original Star Wars movie in 1977. The town and its surrounding cliffs and dunes became a huge part of the movie’s scenery, but it is currently being used as an ISIS waypoint.

With the border of Libya just 60 miles to the east, the small town on the edge of the Sahara Desert has been the site of several major arrests and arms raids recently. Before the attack on the Bardo Museum, three men were reportedly arrested in Tataouine and taken to Tunis after being accused of making plans to join a terrorist network.

The local government has also uncovered arms caches that included, “rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition, thought to have been removed from a Libyan armory in the aftermath of Moammar Gadhafi's ouster in 2011.”

As observed when in Tunisia, the borders of the country have been heavily militarized, but the wide-open desert areas are hard to control. The foot prints of smugglers can still be found in the sand, and there is uneasiness amongst residents in the nation.

Fans of the Star Wars movie have been making pilgrimages to Tunisia for years to see the locations from the movies, but the turmoil in the nation and travel restrictions in the area should be enough warning to deter any unnecessary traveling to the area.

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