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Terrorism in Egypt


Terrorism in Egypt

Terrorism is a safety concern, and the country's terrorist groups have an unpleasant record of specifically targeting Western tourists and the places they frequent. The latter months of 2010 have seen increased travel warnings in the Sinai as a result of threat attacks, in addition to the large suicide bombing on New Years Eve 2010 in Alexandria that killed over 20 people and which seems to be the continuing of rising tensions in the country. The most infamous attack was the one in 1997 in Luxor, which killed 62 people, but there has also been a series of bombings in the Sinai in 2004-2006 and one largely unsuccessful attempt in Cairo in 2005. The most recent incident involving British nationals occurred on 24 April 2006 in the resort town of Dahab killing 23 people, and injuring more than 60 including three British nationals. On the evening of 22 February 2009, an explosion occurred near the Al Hussein Mosque in Cairo, killing one French national and injuring others. The Egyptian security forces remain on a very high level of alert. Security might deteriorate further due to the upcoming presidential elections in 2011. Realistically speaking, though, the odds of being affected by terrorism are statiscally low and most attacks have only succeeded in killing Egyptians, further increasing the revulsion the vast majority of Egyptians feel for the extremists. The government takes the issue very seriously only when it harms them financially and tourist sites are heavily guarded, though with the level and proficiency of Egyptian police leaving a lot to be desired. For example, if you take a taxi from Cairo to Alexandria, you will be stopped at a checkpoint before leaving Cairo. They will on occasion ask where you are going, and on occasion communicate with the checkpoint at Alexandria to make sure you reach your destination within a certain time period. The same goes for most trips into the desert, particularly in Upper Egypt, which is probably best avoided due to rising religious tensions that seep below the surface and whilst appearing safe has the capacity to erupt without a moments notice. During different branches of your drive, you may be escorted by local police, who will expect some sort of financial payment. They will travel to your destination with you, wait around until you are finished, and usually stay behind at one of the next checkpoints often as they have nothing else to do and because tourists are seen as $ signs. The best example of this is when you travel from Aswan to Abu Simbel to visit the Temple of Ramses II. An armed tourism police officer will board your tourist bus and escort you until you arrive at Abu Simbel, and after your tour, he will ride on the same bus with you back to Aswan, again because its part of his job and without the tourists there would be no jobs and there would be no reason to ensure security for their own people as they don't represent a financial figure to them. There are also many tourism police officers armed with AK-47s riding on camels patrolling the Giza plateau. They are there to ensure the safety of the tourists since the Pyramids are the crown jewels of all the Egyptian antiquities, even though very poorly maintained in recent years with no forthcoming investments from within, only outside investment given by countries and historical groups that cannot bear to sit back and see the ruin the local government is letting these sites of wonder become. Some tourists may find it exciting or even amusing to take pictures with these police officers on camel back; however, since they are all on patrol duty, it is not uncommon for them to verbally warn you not to pose next to them in order to take a picture with them, although anything is possible for an amount of money or financial payment.

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Egypt Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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