Terror In Egypt

As of 08:30 CAT, 20 May, 2019, no group has claimed responsibility for yesterday’s roadside bombing which hit a tourist bus near the Pyramids in Egypt. The bus was on an incomplete access road, not open to public traffic but used by tourist busses.

Targets of terrorism in Egypt have included government officials, police, tourists and the Christian minority. Many attacks have been linked to Islamic extremism, and terrorism increased in the 1990s when the Islamist movement al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya targeted high-level political leaders and killed hundreds in its pursuit of implementing traditional Sharia law in Egypt.

The Main source for this article comes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_Egypt

Influence of Sayyid Qutb

In the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, terrorist attacks in Egypt became more numerous and severe, and began to target Christian Copts and foreign tourists as well as government officials. This trend surprised some foreigners who thought of Egypt as a country that “embraced” foreigners “with suffocating affection” and preferred a “tolerant brand of Islam”. Some scholars and authors have credited Islamist writer Sayyid Qutb as the inspiration for the new wave of attacks.

Targeting Christians

In spring of 1981, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman agreed to become the mufti of the shura (council) of underground Egyptian group Tanzim al-Jihad, the forerunner of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya. He issued a fatwa sanctioning “the robbery and killing of Copts in furtherance of the jihad”.

Lavon affair

A covert operation under the direction of Israeli military intelligence with the intent to destabilize the Nasser government in the summer of 1954 through terrorist bombings of Egyptian, American and British government facilities was unsuccessful and the Israeli trained Egyptian Jewish operatives who planted the bombs were all captured, although all of their Israeli handlers escaped. The Lavon Affair, so named because Israeli Defense Minister Pinhas Lavon was later implicated and forced to resign, was a false flag operation with evidence planted at the bomb sites implicating the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sadat assassination and uprising

By 1981 President Anwar Sadat had become unpopular among Egyptians and enraged Islamists by signing a peace treaty with Israel. On 6 October 1981, Sadat and six diplomats were assassinated while observing a military parade commemorating the eighth anniversary of the October 1973 War.

Cairo attacks

On 18 April 1996, gunmen opened fire on Greek and Australian tourists who were about to board a bus outside Cairo’s Europa Hotel, near the pyramids. Eighteen Greeks died, and 15 Greeks and an Egyptian were wounded. On 18 September 1997, gunmen attacked tourist buses parked outside the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, killing nine tourists, including seven Germans, and wounding 19.

Luxor massacre

The Luxor Massacre took place on 17 November 1997, at Deir el-Bahri, an archaeological site and tourist destination. In the mid-morning attack, Islamic terrorists from Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (“The Islamic Group”) and Talaa’al al-Fateh (Vanguards of Conquest), both of which were suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda massacred 62 tourists at the attraction.

2004 Sinai bombings

The 2004 Sinai bombings were three bomb attacks targeting tourist hotels in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, on 7 October 2004. The attacks killed 34 people and injured 171. The explosions occurred in the Hilton Taba in Taba and campsites used by Israelis in Ras al-Shitan. In the Taba attack, a truck drove into the lobby of the Taba Hilton and exploded, killing 31 people and wounding some 159 others. Ten floors of the hotel collapsed following the blast. Some 50 kilometers (31 mi) south, at campsites at Ras al-Shitan, near Nuweiba, two more bombings happened. A car parked in front of a restaurant at the Moon Island resort exploded, killing three Israelis and a Bedouin. Twelve were wounded. Another blast happened moments later, targeting the Baddiyah camp, but did not harm anyone because the bomber had apparently been scared off from entering the campground by a guard.

Of the dead, many were foreigners: 12 were from Israel, two from Italy, one from Russia, and one was an Israeli-American. The rest of the dead were believed to be Egyptian. According to the Egyptian government, the bombers were Palestinians who had tried to enter Israel to carry out attacks there but were unsuccessful. The mastermind, Iyad Saleh, recruited Egyptians and Bedouins to gain explosives to be used in the attacks.

April 2005 attacks

The April 2005 attacks in Cairo were three related incidents that took place in Cairo on 7 April and 30 April 2005. Two incidents caused no loss of life other than those of the perpetrators and appear not to have been planned in advance; in the first attack, however, three bystanders were killed. Two groups claimed responsibility – the Mujahedeen of Egypt and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.

2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks

Sharm el-Sheikh is located on the coast of the Red Sea, at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. The 2005 Sharm el-Sheikh attacks were a series of bomb attacks on 23 July 2005, targeting the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. 88 people were killed and over 150 were wounded by the blasts. The bombing coincided with Egypt’s Revolution Day, which commemorates Nasser’s 1952 overthrow of King Farouk.

2006 Dahab bombings

The seaside town of Dahab is located on the Gulf of Aqaba
The Dahab bombings of 24 April 2006 were three bomb attacks on the Egyptian resort city of Dahab. The resorts are popular with Western tourists and Egyptians alike during the holiday season.

2008 Sudan kidnapping

In September 2008, a group of eleven European tourists and eight Egyptians were kidnapped during an adventure safari to one of the remotest sites in Egypt deep in the Sahara desert and taken to Sudan. They were subsequently released unharmed.

2009 Khan el-Khalili bombing and February 2009 Cairo terrorist attacks

In February 2009, the Khan el-Khalili bombing killed a French schoolgirl on a class trip in Cairo. It is often discussed as the first of the February 2009 Cairo terrorist attacks.

2009 Hezbollah plot

In April 2009, Egypt said it had uncovered a Hezbollah plot to attack tourist sites in the Sinai, causing tension with the Shia group from Lebanon.

Attacks since 2010

al-Qidiseen church bombing

The 2011 Alexandria bombing. A car bomb explosion outside a church in the north Egyptian city of Alexandria killed at least 23 people and injured 43 following the evening service held at the church causing clashes between Coptic church members at the scene and the surrounding policemen. The attack saw governments around the world warn international travellers of the dangers of visiting the country, highlighting a likelihood of further terrorist attacks and possibility of kidnappings in Sinai. On 23 January 2011, the Egyptian minister of interior Habib El Adli stated that Ahmed Lotfi Ibrahim Mohammed confessed to monitoring Christian and Jewish places of worship and sending pictures of the Qideseen church in Alexandria to the Army of Islam.

2015 downing of Metrojet Flight 9268

On 31 October 2015 Metrojet Flight 9268 mysteriously dropped out of the sky over the Sinai Peninsula killing all 224 passengers on board. It was an international chartered passenger flight, operated by Russian airline Kogalymavia (branded as Metrojet), following departure from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport, Egypt, en route to Pulkovo Airport, Saint Petersburg, Russia. The aircraft, an Airbus A321-231, was carrying mostly tourists, there were 219 Russian, four Ukrainian, and one Belarusian.

Church of Saints Peter & Paul bombing

On 11 December 2016, an explosion occurred next to the Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral complex in Cairo, at the Church of Saints Peter & Paul. The cathedral is the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Pope, in Cairo’s Abbasia district. The explosion killed as many as 29 people, mostly women and children, and injured many more. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility.

Red Sea resort attacks

On 8 January 2016, two suspected militants, armed with a melee weapon and a signal flare, allegedly arrived by sea and stormed the Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea city of Hurghada, stabbing two foreign tourists from Austria and one from Sweden.[ (Early reports incorrectly stated that the victims were one German and one Danish national.) One of the attackers, 21-year-old student Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Mahfouz, was killed by the security personnel. The other attacker was injured. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant claimed responsibility.

On 14 July 2017 Abdel-Rahman Shaaban, a former university student from the Nile Delta region, swam from a public beach to each of two resort hotel beaches at Hurghada on the Red Sea and stabbed five German and one Czech tourists, all women, killing two German women. The perpetrator shouted that the Egyptian hotel personnel who gave pursuit after that stabbings at the second beach should “Stay back, I am not after Egyptians.”

Palm Sunday bombings at St. George’s Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria

On Palm Sunday 9 April 2017, explosions occurred in St. George’s Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria. 30 people were killed at St. George’s and 17 at St. Mark’s

Minya Coptic Christian bus attack

On May 26, 2017, masked gunmen opened fire on a convoy carrying Egyptian Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt, killing at least 28 and injuring 26.

Bombing in Giza region

On 28 December 2018, three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed after a roadside bomb struck a tourist bus in the Giza region near Cairo. At least 11 people were wounded.

For South African Citizens Abroad

Although the SA Department of International Relations and Cooperation (http://www.dirco.gov.za/) have not issued specific warnings about travel to Egypt, some other countries do: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/egypt-travel-advisory.html and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/egypt/terrorism

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SATAC Research & Analytics Team

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