US Security Warning – Followed by Similar Canadian, UK Alerts – Agitates Cairo

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has expressed discomfort toward a statement by the US Embassy in Cairo, in which it warned the US nationals of presence in public places and gatherings on Sunday due to “potential security threats”, according to Al-Jazeera.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that the US Embassy did not coordinate with the Egyptian Foreign Ministry or notify any other Egyptian official body of the reasons for this statement or the nature of the security threats referred to, which raises question marks on the reasons behind issuing the ‘security warning’ in this manner.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued on Friday a security message to American citizens in Egypt to avoid large gatherings and public places “The U.S. Embassy strongly advises U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings and public spaces such as concert halls, movie theaters, museums, shopping malls, and sports venues in Cairo through Sunday, October 9, due to potential security concerns. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings and practice good security precautions at all times,” the message said.

The Foreign Ministry also said that officials called the US Embassy in Cairo following the release of the security alert to inquire about reasons behind it. The ministry said the embassy denied there was a particular reason for issuing the warning, adding that it is a routine procedure during extended weekends, reported Al-Ahram, a government-owned newspaper.

During the phone call, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry told the U.S. Embassy that “it rejected such security alarms, that don’t give a reason, and that could have negative impacts and harm the country’s economy.”

Joining the US security warning, the Embassy of Canada in Cairo also published on Friday via its social networking site on Twitter a security alert, urging its citizens in Cairo to avoid any gatherings and public spaces over the weekend, October 7-9.

The UK Embassy in Cairo also warned its nationals Saturday to avoid large gatherings and public spaces in Cairo until Sunday, 9 October, a UK embassy statement read.

The UK embassy, which joined the US and Canadian embassies in issuing such security alert, did not similarly give reasons for the warning, said Al-Ahram.

Egypt is experiencing bombings targeting security officials and military and security sites between now and then. These incidents have increased over the past two years in more than one province, especially in the Sinai Peninsula (northeast), resulting in dozens of deaths, especially among the army and police forces.