Is it safe to travel to Egypt now? Updated info from the UK government (Part 3)
Click here for a previous story about the raucous demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday, July 29. Below is a continuation of updated information from the UK’s Foreigh and Commonwealth Office (FOA). It was updated on Wednesday, July 27. Click here for part one of the FOA’s advice, including a recap of the recent violent demonstrations in the country this summer.
Safety and Security – Terrorism
There is a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt, including in Sinai. Security is tight throughout the country, especially in resort areas. There is a high risk of indiscriminate attacks including public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers, including but not limited to resorts, hotels and restaurants.
On 01 January 2011, there was an explosion, believed to be from a suicide bomb, outside a Coptic Church in Alexandria. At least 21 people were killed and over 80 were injured. There have been several explosions at gas terminals and pipelines in and around the north Sinai town of Al Arish this year. The most recent was on 4 July. The explosions are thought to be the result of terrorism.
In May 2009, an explosion occurred outside St Mary’s Church (Coptic) in Zeitoun, Cairo. No one was injured. In February 2009 there was an explosion in Cairo’s Khan al Khalili market which killed one foreign tourist.
British nationals should exercise extra caution in the vicinity of churches particularly around the time of religious services. You should also exercise caution in public areas and heed instructions from the local security authorities who may insist on escorting you in some areas. You should carry photo identification and co-operate fully with officials.
Since 2004, there have been three separate bomb attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. British nationals were killed or injured in each of these attacks. The most recent incident involving British nationals occurred on 24 April 2006 in the resort town of Dahab.
As some of these attacks have taken place over local holiday weekends, Egyptian security forces tend to step up their presence at these times. You are advised to take extra caution at these times and respect any advice or instruction from the local security authorities. A list of Egyptian holidays can be found on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo. See our Terrorism Abroad page.
Security and Security – Crime
In many areas of Egypt, the crime rate remains low. However, during the recent unrest there were reports of vandalism, looting and drive-by-shootings in some areas of Cairo, Alexandria and Suez. Since 11 February there has been an increase in opportunistic crime such as muggings, break-ins and car-jackings. You should be vigilant of your surroundings at all times.
You should take care of your passport and valuables, use hotel safes and be aware of pickpockets and bag snatchers. If you are the victim of any crime you must report it to the Tourist Police immediately. Failure to report crimes before you leave Egypt will make it impossible to seek a prosecution at a later date.
We continue to receive a significant number of reports of cases of sexual assault cases against British Nationals. In 2010, we handled 25 cases of sexual assault and three cases of rape. Some assaults were against minors. Many occurred in what were considered to be safe environments e.g. hotel premises. Reports of sexual assault increased during the recent unrest.
See our Rape and Sexual Assault page.
Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you are going to drink, know your limit. Remember that drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK.
See our Victims of Crime page.
On 11 January 2011, a man was killed and five were injured when a gunman opened fire on a train travelling from Assyut to Cairo. On 6 January 2010, around seven people were killed in a drive-by shooting outside a church in Naj Hammadi in southern Egypt. This was followed by clashes between protestors and police on 7 January. You should avoid political gatherings and demonstrations, and respect any advice or instruction from the local security authorities.
Is it safe to travel to Egypt now?
Click here for part four of the UK’s updated advice and warnings on traveling to Egypt.