Kidnapping and Terror in The Middle East and North Africa: Foreign Office raises Egypt terror threat


November 3, 2012

Source: The Guardian

Egypt terror threat raised from medium to high after series of deadly militant attacks across north Sinai.

The Foreign Office has raised its terrorism warning for visitors to Egypt from medium to high, particularly urging Britons against travel to the Sinai region, after a recent spate of militant attacks.

The change comes on the same day that a report revealed that police in Egypt had foiled a plot by al-Qaida-linked militants to attack tourists in the popular Red Sea coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. The Mirror said the attack, involving firearms and rocket-propelled grenades, had been planned for Christmas.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said she could not comment on any link, adding that changes to travel advice were based on “a number of sources”.

While Sharm el-Sheikh is on the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula, it and other nearby resorts, Taba, Nuweiba and Dahab, are excluded from the Foreign Office advice against travel to the region.

The Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that on 2 November we amended our travel advice for Egypt. Our advice makes clear that there is a high threat from terrorism in Egypt.”

Its website says: “Although security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas, there remains a high risk of attacks, which could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers such as hotels and restaurants.”

The advice warns against all travel to north Sinai, where there have been attacks on security forces near the border with Gaza and Egypt, including one which killed 16 soldiers.

The advice says that even in south Sinai security has deteriorated this year, with a number of hijacks and kidnaps away from resort areas.

Egypt has been trying to rebuild its tourism industry after last year’s widespread unrest ended the long rule of Hosni Murbarak as president.

Last month the antiquities minister, Muhammad Ibrahim, reopened the restored pyramid of Chefren and six tombs at Giza, using the occasion to stress the country’s safety for tourists.

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