The FCO says the current terror threat in Egypt remains high

Reviving Egypt’s tourism will be difficult after the later explosion near St Mark’s Cathedral, the main Coptic church in central Cairo.

A bomb blast has killed at least 25 people and injured nearly 49 others during Sunday mass inside a Cairo church near the main Coptic Christian cathedral, according to Egyptian state TV.

Security sources had said the blast was caused by a bomb containing at least 12 kg (26 pounds) of TNT detonated on a side of the church normally used by women.

Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi claimed on Monday that a suicide bomber carried out the attack that killed 24 people at Cairo’s Coptic cathedral, the deadliest on the Christian minority in years.

Sisi did not name the organization the attackers were believed to belong to and no group has claimed so far responsibility.

While Muslim Brotherhood strongly condemned the terror attack, the ISIS celebrated the attack on the social media. The Islamic State’s Egyptian branch previously claimed attacks in Cairo and urged its supporters to launch attacks around the world as it goes on the defensive in its Iraqi and Syrian strongholds.

As a result, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) – A department of the government of the United Kingdom responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide – has urged travelers heading to Egypt to be “vigilant” and “follow local advice”.

In addition, FCO advised tourists not to travel to the Governorate of North Sinai “due to the significant increase in criminal activity and continued terrorist attacks on police and security forces that have resulted in deaths,” according to the FCO foreign travel advice statement.

The FCO also advised against all but essential travel to the Governorate of South Sinai too. However, this excludes the “area within the Sharm el Sheikh perimeter barrier”.

The FCO included the airport and the areas of Sharm el Maya, Hadaba, Maama Bay, Sharks Bay and Nabq.But said, “We advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el Sheikh.”

The FCO also advised against all but essential travel to the area west of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions – but this excludes the coastal areas between the Nile Delta and Marsa Matruh.

Furthermore, the FCO confirms that the current terror threat in Egypt remains high. It stated, “Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks. Further attacks are likely.”

“Most terrorist attacks target the security forces, but it’s likely that foreigners, including tourists will also be targeted.”

“Attacks could be indiscriminate and may occur without prior warning. There have been threats to western nationals, institutions and businesses posted n websites and social media.

“On December 9, 2016, there was an explosion on Pyramid Road, in Giza, killing at least six police officers, “the FCO wrote on its website. “

The FCO travel advice will probably have negative repercussions of Egypt’s tourism that struggles to regain back its strength in Egypt’s urgent need for foreign currency.

Egypt’s tourism is one of the major sources of foreign currency in the country, that suffers from an economic crisis due to the shortage of foreign currency. The number of tourists fell 40% in the first quarter of 2016.

Both the British and Russian governments banned their airlines from traveling to Sharm AL-Sheikh for security concerns after the bombing of a Russian passenger jet in October 2015 killing all 224 people on board. Sinai Province- a group affiliated with the Islamic State- has claimed their responsibility for downing the Russian plane.

In addition, Egypt received a major blow in May when an EgyptAir plane crashed into the Mediterranean, killing all 66 people on board. The cause of the crash is still unknown.

In the five years, since, Egypt’s foreign reserves have gone down more than 50 %, from $36 billion to $17.546 billion as of last month.