Friday, May 2, 2014

Egypt: Update--Pre-Election Violence in Cairo, Sharm El-Shiekh, Alexandria, Tourists Urged to Defer Travel

According to Reuters, two suicide bombings in Egypt's South Sinai killed a soldier and wounded at least seven people on Friday (May 2), less than four weeks before a presidential election is scheduled to be held.

In other violence, a police officer was killed in a Cairo bomb attack while in the port city of Alexandria, two people were shot and killed when supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi clashed with residents.

Former Egyptian Army Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led Morsi's overthrow, is expected to win the presidential election on May 26 and 27.

Friday's suicide attack in El-Tur, a town on the main road between Cairo and the tourist resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, killed a soldier as well as the bomber. Three policemen and another soldier were wounded, an Interior Ministry statement said.

Four Egyptians were wounded in the second attack, further south on the road between El-Tur and Sharm El-Sheikh, the Interior Ministry announced said.

COMMENT: Given the escalating political unrest throughout the country, I strongly urge that all foreign travelers defer travel to Egypt until JUNE 30, 2014, which is one month after the presidential election, as extremism is expected to rise not diminish.

A government spokesman for the South Sinai province, speaking to CBC television, identified the wounded as employees of a tourism company.

A third bomb killed one policeman at a traffic security post near a courthouse in Cairo, security sources said. At least four other policemen were wounded, the Interior Ministry said. 

While most of the recent attacks have targeted security forces, three South Koreans were killed in February 2014 when an IED detonated on a tourist bus in South Sinai near a border crossing with Israel. 

The aforementioned attack killed three South Korean tourists, an Egyptian driver and injured nine other South Koreans.
 
In the Alexandra incident, two people were shot, the Interior Ministry said. 

Forty-two Morsi supporters were arrested in protests across Egypt.
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, on its website, blamed deaths and casualties on security forces. 

Political tensions also escalated earlier this week with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and 682 of the Brotherhood's supporters to death, intensifying a crackdown on the movement and drawing Western criticism.

The EU has described the mass-death penalty as a breach of international human rights law. All other nations should express their dissent as well, either through Diplomatic Notes and/or press releases.