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Updated below: In a sign of the rapidly worsening situation in Cairo and Alexandria and larger unrest in Egypt, the U.S. State Dept has issued its strongest travel warning yet for the country since the end of the Mubarak regime. This follows a U.S. citizen who got killed today in Alexandria, though the circumstances are still unclear.
The warning says in clearest terms that U.S. citizens should defer all non-essential travel to the country. It is also pulling out some of its non-emergency employees and families from embassies in the country as well.
This will further push back the struggling Egypt tourism industry and its hopes for 2013, and put any recovery well into 2014 at this point. With peak summer and Ramadan coming up in the Muslim world in couple of weeks — starting July 8 — the activity in the country will slow down anyway for the next month until after the Eid festival.
The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Egypt to defer non-essential travel to Egypt at this time due to the continuing possibility of political and social unrest. On June 28, 2013, the Department of State authorized the departure of a limited number of non-emergency employees and family members. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Alert issued for Egypt dated May 15, 2013.
On June 28, the Department of State authorized the departure of a limited number of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest.
Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012 and the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, is likely to continue in the near future due to unrest focused on the first anniversary of the President’s assumption of office. Demonstrations have, on occasion, degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There are numerous reports of the use of firearms as well. While violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said, the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, continues to be calm. Of specific concern is a rise in gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the specific targets of sexual assault.
Updated: The UK Foreign Office has also issued a similar “only-essential travel” warning to its citizens, a day later, and has also issued a new map, embedded below: