Egyption History & Travel - 2010

sat right up front with the bus driver. Our guide told us that we should ignore him but that he would be with us all the time we were in Cairo. The trucks dropped away after we reached the hotel and we were not accompanied by them again until it was time to return to the airport at the end of the trip when they rejoined our caravan. However, that was not anywhere near the end of the security we saw! At every tourist site, there were guards sitting behind bullet proof shields with big guns drawn. There were soldiers and policemen in turrets at intervals along main roads. We saw Tourist Police, Soldiers, regular policemen, all involved in security for tourists. It was quite clear that President Mubarak does not want a repeat of the tourist attack in 1997 at Hatshepsut's Temple where about 60 tourists were killed, mostly Japanese and Swiss people. Tourism plunged as many countries warned their nationals not to travel to Egypt until the situation was clarified and security increased. A militant Islamic group at first claimed responsibility for the attack as well as other smaller ones around the country, but when it was realized that the people of Egypt were outraged by the attacks and demanded that the government punish the group and restore the confidence of tourists so tourism would resume, the group back-pedaled and tried to blame the attacks on Israel and its sympathizers. However, the Egyptian government was not fooled and it was constantly pressured by its own populace to prevent any further such attacks. After all, tourism brings in 11% of the nation's revenues and provides many jobs and supports many private businesses. The country simply could not afford any further mayhem against tourists. The Tourist Police and other security measures have done an effective job since 1997 and only isolated events have occurred since with very little loss of life. The biggest threat now seems to be against people in remote areas who are kidnapped for ransom, but those events are few in number as well. Since our return home, we saw, along with the rest of the world, that fundamentalist groups have not been totally quashed since a terrorist attack was perpetrated on a Coptic Christian Church in Alexandria during the New Year's services. Many of the churchgoers and passersby were killed and wounded in this terrible massacre. One possible explanation for this action is a continuing goal of destabilizing the Mubarak government and establishing sharia law and government in Egypt.

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