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Egypt – recent travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

In light of of presidential elections yesterday and today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have adjusted their travel advice for the Egyptian Red Sea resort area of Hurghada in Egypt. There are also enhanced security measures in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh resort areas.

The FCO said: “We believe that terrorists continue to plan attacks. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur without prior warning. Terrorists could target protestors and the Egyptian authorities.”

“There is a high threat from terrorism. Three South Korean tourists and their driver were killed at Taba (Sinai) on 16 February, and the group responsible has threatened further attacks.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advise against all travel to:

  • The Governorate of North Sinai due to the significant increase in criminal activity and recent terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to:

  • The Governorates of Beni Suef, Minya, Asyut and Sohag
  • The Governorate of South Sinai, with the exception of the area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier, which includes the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Naama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq

Terrorism

“We believe that terrorists continue to plan attacks. Attacks could be indiscriminate and could occur without prior warning. Terrorists could target protestors and the Egyptian authorities. Attacks have mainly been aimed at the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these buildings. Attacks targeting foreigners in tourist resorts and elsewhere can’t be ruled out.

On 2 May 2014, there were bomb blasts in El Tor (At Tur) in South Sinai targeting a police check point and a bus. On the same day there was an explosion outside a court building in Heliopolis in Cairo. There were a number of deaths and injuries.”

Hurghada

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the resort areas in Hurghada. Egyptian military are situated in and around Hurghada international airport. There are checkpoints around Hurghada and throughout the Red Sea Governorate. There are roadblocks in place in the town and monitoring of areas often frequented by tourists. In Hurghada on 14 August 2013 there were some violent clashes, in an area away from tourist resorts. One man was killed.

Sharm el Sheikh

Enhanced security measures are in place to protect the Sharm el Sheikh resort areas. Egyptian military are situated in Sharm el Sheikh international airport, at check points around the perimeter of Sharm el Sheikh and throughout the South Sinai Governorate. Routine security checks are being performed on entry into the airport and the police are carrying out vehicle checks in Sharm el-Sheikh. There were no violent protests in the South Sinai resorts during recent disturbances in Egypt.

Presidential elections

Presidential elections will be held in Egypt on 26 and 27 May. There will be political rallies and marches across the country in the run up to the election. On 17 May explosive devices were thrown into the crowd at a rally in Cairo injuring at least 3 people. You should avoid all rallies and marches.

There will be heavy security in place on polling days. Take extra care near polling stations, avoiding them where possible. During a nationwide referendum in January 2014 British nationals and other foreigners were arrested near polling stations. Don’t take photographs near polling stations.

Protests and demonstrations

Protests, marches and demonstrations are common across Egypt. Demonstrations often happen on Fridays, but can occur at any time and with little prior notice.

The atmosphere at demonstrations can change quickly and without warning. Police may use water cannon, tear gas, birdshot or live ammunition for crowd control.

There have been several violent clashes since July 2013 resulting in a large number of deaths. Most of the clashes have taken place in Cairo and Alexandria. At protests in Cairo, Alexandria and Fayoum on 24 and 25 January 2014 there were reports of around 80 deaths. There are ongoing protests and clashes within university campuses across the country.

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. Make sure you keep valid photographic identification with you at all times. 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. See Safety and security

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 2013. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked. See Safety and security

© Foreign and Commonwealth Office

 

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