Star Wars fans have been warned away from locations in Tunisia that once served as Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s home planet, which have now reportedly become a waypoint for ISIS militants.
The region around the town of Tataouine served as the backdrop for the desert planet, known as Utapau in early drafts of the script, and while the settlement itself was not actually used in the Star Wars films, it did lend its name to the saga. Scenes from not only the first Star Wars movie, but also the prequels were filmed in the nearby area, making the location a mecca of sorts for fans. Recent developments, however, have led authorities to warn Star Wars tourists away, as the town has become a way-station for ISIS militants seeking to enter Lybia, according to CNN.
— Tufan Demir (@Tufan_Demir) March 25, 2015
Earlier this month, three young men were arrested in the area as they prepared to cross the boarder in an effort to join ISIS. Two major arms caches have also been uncovered, according to the Huffington Post, which included rocket-propelled grenades and over 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Much of those munitions are believed to have come from Libyan armories following the downfall of Moammar Gadhafi.
— Ian Keddie (@IanJKeddie) March 25, 2015
Though it served as the backdrop for Star Wars in 1976, Tunisia remains on edge recently, following a terrorist attack last week at the National Bardo Museum in the nation’s capital, Tunis. The assault killed 23 people, as the Inquisitr previously reported, and ISIS have since claimed responsibility for it. As a result of the attack, Tunisia has massively raised its military presence in nearby cities, part of a visible show of force.
— Yahoo Movies (@YahooMovies) March 25, 2015
Various governments have issued travel warnings for the country, including the United States, which has advised its citizens to avoid the border areas. Britain, meanwhile, has warned against anything other than absolutely necessary travel in the wider region, which covers not only the town of Tataouine but also other Star Wars shooting locations. Nefta, which is part of the British advisory, once served as the Lars Homestead on Tatooine, where Star Wars fans first met Luke Skywalker.
While news of ISIS’ presence may curtail fans interested in visiting locations that once doubled as Tatooine, some have pledged on social media to continue visiting the country.
[Image: FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images via Popular Mechanics]