Egypt: Urgent travel warning issued

2014-02-18 13:03
The FCO has released a map detailing the affected areas.

The FCO has released a map detailing the affected areas.

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Cairo – The UK and US have sent out travel advisories for Egypt after a tourist bus was attacked in South Sinai, close to the Israeli border at Eilat. Three people were killed in the suicide bombing attack.  

In the mean time, Reuters reports that the Islamist militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has told tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack anyone who stays in the country after a deadline of 20 February 2013.

The Sinai-based group claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing attack and made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account.

"We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline," read the tweet, written in English.

The UK Government posted a travel advisory on their website, stating that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths. They also warned against non-essential travel to South Sinai as well as the Governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut and Sohag.

The FCO also highlighted the fact that the from 1 February for approximately two months there will be several anniversaries in Egypt which are expected to prompt protests, some of which could turn violent, stating that there is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations.

NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June.

During this time it is possible that extremists may take advantage of political protests to target protesters and the Egyptian authorities, which has increased the threat of tourism in the country significantly.  

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 foreigners.  

The US Government issued a travel alert for Egypt on 30 January, which will only expire on 30 April.  

Safety tips:

- If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. Take particular care in areas with a history of regular protests. At protests on 24 and 25 January westerners, including British Nationals, were singled out and attacked by some protestors.  

- Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times.  

- Terrorist attacks have mainly been aimed at the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these buildings.
Read more on:    egypt  |  travel  |  travel international

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