mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Tourists and Terror
The Tweet That Tanked Egyptian Tourism

A private Twitter account associated with the Egyptian terror group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis posted a chilling message on Tuesday. “We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline,” reads the tweet. The deadline, Reuters reports, is Thursday. After that, Ansar vowed, there will be more attacks on tourists like the bus bombing that killed three South Koreans in south Sinai on Sunday.

The Egyptian government has said it is taking the threat seriously. “Extra precautions have been taken in recent days to protect tourists in the resort area of Sharm El Sheikh,” an embassy spokesman told the BBC. Ansar and the other Islamist terrorist groups that have become more active in Egypt since the army coup last summer have so far limited their targets to army and police installations and officers. Civilians and tourists have avoided the terrorists’ ire. But that might be about to change. In 1996, during a similar rise of Islamic terror in Egypt, terrorists staged a spectacular attack at Luxor, a major tourist site. The attackers systematically slaughtered 62 people, most of them tourists, with automatic weapons and knives. Responders found numerous bodies horribly mutilated, including those of a five-year old child and four Japanese couples on their honeymoons.

Ansar’s threat will cause problems for Egypt’s economy and government, but it won’t win friends among Egyptians who depend on this vital industry for their daily bread. In fact it will likely make it easier for the government to blame economic woes on jihadis and to justify a massive, ruthless crackdown. This wouldn’t be the first time Egyptians supported harsh measures against Islamists who strike at the tourism industry.

Features Icon
show comments
  • skhpcola

    Let the Islumists wallow in their own destruction and filth. I havent checked the status of Egypt’s foreign reserves and food supplies lately, but they won’t last the year’s end without an infusion of cash from somewhere. Since they are an especially unproductive tribe, tourism was a major source of cash. What will they do now? I’ll follow along as they strive towards the 8th century’s standard of living. I doubt that they’ll make it.

  • ljgude

    A massive ruthless crackdown is the proper response to irreconcilable outlaws who slaughter innocents. It is justified on its own merits, but an economic justification doesn’t hurt. The main point is to hunt them out.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service