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3 Killed, 4 Tourists Injured Today in Cairo Suicide Attacks

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Apr 30th, 2005, 12:16 PM
  #1
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3 Killed, 4 Tourists Injured Today in Cairo Suicide Attacks

As much as I love Egypt, and I have traveled the entire country on my own in the 90's -I would have to strongly advise to carefully weigh the travel risks there now, whether or not to go there in the next few months-the terror attacks against tourists are decidedly escalating, both in frequency and boldness.

This is the second attack in less than a month targeting tourists, and the first in history involving Egyptian women as the perpetrators. The attacks struck right behind the Egyptian Museum, right in the heart of tourist Cairo. 4 foreigners injured, and the 3 Egyptians perpetrating the attacks, one in Cairo and the other in the south on a tour bus, killed themselves. Earlier this month, 3 tourists were killed in an attack in Cairo's famed bazaar, the Khan il Khalili. Most disturbing.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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My wife and I were in Egypt when the Cairo bazaar bombing took place in early April. In fact, we were in that bazaar only a few days after.

Frankly, we never felt safer when traveling abroad than we did in Egypt, before, during, and after the bombing.

Police were everywhere, both in uniform and in plain clothes. They were particularly concerned for our safety; we were escorted everywhere, day and night.

If you want perfect safety, stay in bed. Come to think of it, more people die in bed than anywhere else.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 01:20 PM
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You know I don't have time right now to respond to this properly-however you are TOTALLY missing the point, USNR. NO ONE is attacking the friendliness of the Egyptians, and even, the feeling of safety-the fact of the matter is, IT IS NOT SAFE IN CAIRO FOR TOURISTS NOW. There are always soldiers, tourist police, every kind of police there-yes, I agree, there is the illusion of safety there, and yet, these same police and military have been unable to stem the attacks-they are continuing, and they are escalating.

I would not go to Cairo now. The threat situation is too uncertain. Like I said on another thread, you can go to Iraq right now as well, but do you really want to test the probability of ending up dead or dying by the roadside, simply because you can?

You have to keep informed about what is happening in areas where they are deliberately and systematically targeting tourists, western hotels and institutions. And then you have to ask yourself, is the risk worth it? Personally, I'd give it a pass and see how things go in the next few months, because it is simply foolish to put one's self in harm's way.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 01:31 PM
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Spygirl, I think you are trying to be helpful, but I think you have to consider the risks of travel realistically. I live in Chicago, and it is much more likely to get robbed, raped, or killed here. Yet I still see lots of tourists coming here. I agree it's wise to keep your eyes open. But to say attacks are escalating because there have been 2 attacks in the whole country is misleading. The world is filled with dangerous places that people travel to all the time. As places go, Egypt is safer than most.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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No Pam, your premise is totally incorrect. It is NOT safer than other places, that's the whole point-and there have been 3 bombings actually in the country within the last few months -TARGETING TOURISTS. That is the the key issue here-these are not insurgents fighting the Govt., with toursts who get caught in the crossfire-it is directly targeting the areas where tourists go in order to get TO the tourists-a disturbing new trend that we're seeing (and I do work in these issues-I'm not just speaking off the top of my head). Egypt spent a long time in the 90's getting rid of the Jamah Islamiya-yet it seems that a whole new generation of anti-western fundamentalists, with ties to al-Qaeda are starting to crop up-if Egypt does not get a handle on this, and very soon, it's going to have a very serious economic problem on its hands.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 03:17 PM
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Spygirl,

I think you are overreacting just like most do as soon as they see a press report about a bombing whether it be tourist targeted or not. As a matter of fact paranoia equivalent to what you are displaying simply makes my blood boil.

I agree with all the other posters so far in terms of not wanting to panic. I have been travelling for the past 35 years and have visited a lot of countries all over the world. One of my favorite pastimes is to visit places where the media have gone over the top about bombings etc. I have done this because when people such as yourself get all frenzied the local tourism industries panic and guess what prices come down. I have capitalized on this wherever I have travelled and have gained immensely without ever seeing a serious problem related to the localised trouble. I have been to many countries where there was supposedly trouble brewing and guess what the only trouble I have ever witnessed was when I was in the so called "friendly" USA and I witnessed a drive by shooting (killing) in Las Vegas.

My advice is if you are scared then stay in bed however let others make there minds up for themeselves because many wont live in a world of paranoia. To blatantly tell everyone that they are wrong is not the way to go. If you want to post a warning then do so with authority and do not get angered or feel you know more than others when they criticize you.

My final advice to all is dont be perturbed, if you want to visit Egypt then do so now. If you procrastinate you could well be shot by a schoolkid shooting a gun at your local school before you decide that Egypt is a safe country to visit.

Just my twopence worth.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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Apr 30th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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With all respect, I was in NYC two weeks after 1,000+ people were assassinated by crazed fundamentalists. Travelled to N.Ireland in the early 80's when we had to get off a train due to bomb scare, guess what? They actually found a bomb. I visited Kenya after the Embassy bombings.. to top it all off, I hike every morning alone through Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and drive down the most dangerous patch of freeway in the western world. ....have I been scared? Heck yes, try driving through S.Central LA late at night after taking a wrong turn, just after the riots... I ran 4 red lights to get back on the freeway... my point is that every day is dangerous everywhere.. and everyone has their own comfort level.. people travel to troubled areas all the time. People get shot all over the world... you can lower your risks by travelling as smart as you can.. that holds true for a highschool student (think Columbine) or a traveller to Egypt.
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Apr 30th, 2005, 08:57 PM
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Like I said, I work in homeland defense issues, and Selwyn, I certainly don't need to be patronized by you when I've spent my entire adult life traveling, living and studying around the world-far more than most I think-over 60 countries, and as far as the Middle East goes, well, I know it rather well. This is a very serious matter in Egypt right now. You CANNOT disregard it, when making travel plans. If ytou want to make idiotic ad hominem attacks like USNR, then fine, go right ahead, that does not alter the seriousness of the situation one bit. And don't take my word for it-DO SOME READING ON YOUR OWN. You cannot compare random risks in the US to what is now happening in Cairo-that is an inaccurate comparison-this is a situation where a foreign terrorist group, that is not known to Egyptian intelligence services, making a deadly appearance in this country, and specifically targeting foreigners. The fact that Egyptian women are acting as suicide attackers now is HUGE-this is completely unknown in the history of terrorist attacks in this country.

People like to compare attacks like this to 9/11-again, that is an inaccurate comparison. There was no warning with 911-that is not the case here-we now have repeated attacks in the heart of tourist Cairo-2 of them within a month-that does NOT bode well for the future. There is something going on here tha is very troubling to Middle East analysts whose business it is to study terrorist trends in this area. When you look back to the 90's and the problems with the Jamaa Islamiyah, those problems primarily took place in an area of the south to which tourists did not go. Clearly, the al-Qaeda factions operating in Turkey, in Egypt and in Indonesia are now taking their attacks directly against the tourists and NOT the government. To ignore what is happening in Cairo is akin to sticking your head in the sand. I would not advise anyone at this point to make plans to visit Cairo and Egypt in the next few months-the situation is too unstable, and the Egyptian security forces do not yet have a handle on the problem.
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May 1st, 2005, 12:04 AM
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Spygirl,

While you might work in homeland defense I am a qualified engineeer whose speciality is statistics. With that said here are the real facts from my perspective.

I have looked up the official travel figures of tourists to Egypt per year ( http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2003/630/eg6.htm). From this page it can be seen that overall 3.5 million visitors travel to Egypt annually. This translates into being 270000 tourists per month. In effect if there are 3 suicide bombings in Egypt per month this means that the chances of a visitor being hit by a suicide bomber are .00113%. All I can say is that these odds are so negligible that they simply dont count.

In 2002 there were 43005 fatal accidents in the USA. (http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/finalr...nd_All_Victims) I am going to assume that the USA has had close to the same amount of fatal accidents in 2004. This translates into 3584 fatal accidents per month.

The population in the USA as is today is 293,655,404. (http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet...lation?_sse=on)

In effect the above means that the chances of a US citizen being involved in a fatal accident on a monthly basis is 0.0012%

The above are the real facts and the result of all of this is that statistically speaking today there is no difference between the chances of you being killed on the USA roads or visiting a so called "dedicated for tourists suicide bomb ridden" Egypt.

Spygirl if you feel so strongly against visiting Egypt because of its 3 suicide bombings last month then for you, relative to the above stats, the moral of the story is stay in bed on a daily basis and do not go out onto the USA roads nor visit Egypt. With that said please bear in mind that others dont follow news reports blindly and still want a life to lead by travelling on the roads and travelling all over the world be it to Egypt or Timbucktoo.

Take that in your pipe and smoke it!

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa

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May 1st, 2005, 02:24 AM
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First off, my wife and I live and work in Saudi Arabia, where there is a significantly greater threat than Egypt. Are we cautious . . yes; Do we let the threat rule our lives . . no.

I think visitors to Egypt at this time need to take the same attitude, be careful, but don't be paranoid. Two incidents don't add up to a full blown campaign. When you examine what is going on now and compare it with the events of the past, the current events look like very small scale attacks, indicating that the Egyptians have the terrorists sufficiently off balance that they can't carry out big operations. Small operations + big country = statistical safety.

Be aware of your surroundings. Do a little web research and learn how not to stand out so obviously, and what to do if you spot something developing. Avoid being an easy target, and have a pleasant time in Egypt. If we all cower in our houses in the US, the terrorists win.

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May 1st, 2005, 07:42 AM
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Bravo Selwyn!

Our thoughts on this subject match exactly, in fact, your advice to stay home is the same as I gave to somebody on this forum last year when they started raising safety issues.

While I imagine the author's intentions are the best in the world I am troubled by factual errors in her postings. The terrorist problems in the south of Egypt were at Qena across the river from Dandara where tourists most certainly do go and at Luxor another spot frequented by tourists. The other notable event was in Cairo at the Egyptian museum several years ago. All of these places were high profile attacks on tourist areas. I agree that Egypt maintains a high illusion of safety with all the police and armed guards, but, it has never been safer than any other destination (excepting Iraq and Afghanistan perhaps).

Another disturbing error is that we did have warnings as to 9/11 before it happened and our government, in its wisdom, elected to ignore them.

When I see factual errors of this magnitude I have to question everything else I read. Unless the warnings are based on classified information unavailable to the public (shame on you if they are) I have to wonder about the motives of the original posting. Let people make their own decisions. There is a state department website that can be consulted and then people can decide for themselves.
 
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May 1st, 2005, 07:47 AM
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Dear Spygirl, please correct me if I am wrong, but you state that there was no warning for 9/11... didn't the same group bomb the WTC with much less damage in the '90's? if that isn't warning that you have a hot target, then I am afraid I don't know what is.
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May 1st, 2005, 01:48 PM
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The early 90s warning (actually 2/93) when the first attack occured at the WTC...

Here's a better one - Didn't the President get a memo (PBR - Presidential Briefing Report... think those are the letters) the month prior 9/11 indicating that UBL was planning an attack on the US... and he stayed in Crawford! Guess "his" vacation was important!
 
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May 1st, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Sorry, rfb-while I'm sure your point is to challenge everything I've said, simply because I did not list every single terrorist incident that has occurred in Egypt from the early 90's on, does NOT mean that what I said was incorrect. It isn't. And you didn't read my post correctly if you were to infer that the terrorist events all occurred in the south of Egypt, of course they didn't. The massacre of tourists at Luxor, and the bus massacre of 18 tourists outside of Cairo at a hotel on the Pyramids Rd. in the 1997-98 time frame were two horrific exceptions.

And as far as 9/11, I'm certainly not going to get into a debate about the so-called "warnings" that were received, one can read and judge for themselves about 9/11 by going to this website:
www.9-11Commission.gov/report.

Suffice it to say, to compare the 9/11 event to the terrorist attacks and current situation in Cairo, (as well as the situation in Turkey and InNdonesia) in the sense of being "warned" about what is happening would be grossly inaccurate-there is PLENTY of information of the very disturbing trends targeting tourists and the tourist industry in the areas in question.

And unfortunately, one more incident to bring home this point that tourists, and not the Government, are being targeted in these countries--yesterday, on the same day as the Cairo attacks, there was a bomb placed right in the heart of tourist Kusadasi, Turkey by a statue in the town square. The police received a tip, and detonated it in time, but a policeman's arm was blown off in the process. There are no indications they were related, but it underscores the trend in perpetrating deadly attacks on tourist centers.

My point is this: Very few people who want to explore this part of the world want to feel that they will have to take all sorts of extra precautions that will limit their enjoyment of the area-that's not the purpose of a travel adventure. Most who travel to Egypt are going on a once in a lifetime trip, to experience Cairo's historic center, Giza and Luxor without fear of having a bomb suddently tossed in their midst, which is pretty much what happened in the Khan al Khalili bazaar a few weeks ago-an American who was presumably shopping in that bazaar died in the attack. This sort of disturbing attack against tourists and western businesses is really not happening in other places, except in Turkey and Indonesia. This is where the al-Qaeda factions, and locals sympathetic to their cause, are operating, and while Turkey has a pretty good handle on its terrorist problem, Indonesia does not.

As far as Egypt is concerned, it has managed to almost completely wipe out the terrorist group Jamaa Islamiya, after a severe crackdown in the 90's-indeed, up until last year, there had been some 7 years with NO attacks against tourists. What is happening now in the last year and particularly this past month with 3 deadly attacks targeting tourists- not counting the massacre at the Red Sea resorts-is not yet fully understood.

There was a tremendous round-up today in Egypt of persons affliated with yesterday's attacks, however, (and I underscore this)-Egyptian authorities initially said it was an isolated incident, they then reversed and said it was the work of a small terrorist cell. Such statements point to the fact that the Egyptian security services do not yet have a handle on the situation, which is why I say one would be very well advised to put any travel plans to Egypt and Cairo on hold to this area for the time being and just watch the situation for the next few months, and by all means, monitor the State Dept. website: www.state.gov for updated information on Egypt. Informed travel planning can, and does, save lives.


Finally, as far as Selwyn's comments, you could hardly expect her to say anything different than whatever point she was trying to make. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the tour industry, and those affiliated with it, are not really in the business of cautioning travelers to rethink and revise travel plans due to instability in a particular area, now are they?
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May 1st, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Spygirl,

Sorry to have to inform you that you are not always right in what you think or believe and your last mail is solid proof of this. Below you can see my fun response to prove this fact.

I have to inform you that relative to your last mail Selwyn is a HE and NOT a HER.

With the above said I suppose you will argue that you are correct on this gender issue too. ;-) ;-)

I am out of here as I know that I have better things to do with my time than having to read your insular mails.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa



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