Foreign travel advice
There is a high threat from terrorism in Egypt. Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks. Further attacks are likely. Most terrorist attacks target the security forces, their facilities and other government buildings. You should take great care near these places. It’s also likely that foreigners, including tourists, will be targeted. Attacks could be indiscriminate and occur without prior warning.
There is a threat of kidnapping, particularly in remote desert areas. The long-standing policy of the British government is not to make substantive concessions to hostage-takers. The British government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage-taking.
Daesh-Sinai (formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM)) is the most active terrorist group in Egypt. In November 2014, ABM announced they had pledged allegiance to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). Most Daesh-Sinai attacks have targeted government and security forces, but foreigners have also been targeted. Their main area of operations is northern Sinai, but the group has claimed responsibility for attacks in other areas including South Sinai, Cairo, the western desert and Nile delta cities.
In North Sinai, terrorists seek to prevent the Egyptian authorities from exercising control. There have been frequent, almost daily reports of attacks since the change in government. Most attacks are against the Egyptian government and military installations and personnel.
On 9 December 2016 there was an explosion on Pyramid Road in Giza, killing at least 6 police officers. Religious sites have been targeted by terrorist groups. In December 2016, a church next to the Orthodox Cathedral in Abbaseya, Cairo, was attacked killing at least 25 people. You should remain vigilant at all times and follow the advice of local security officials, including during religious festivals. A list of local holidays can be found on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo
On 8 January 2016, a knife attack at the Bella Vista Hotel in Hurghada resulted in injuries to 3 foreign tourists. One of the attackers was killed and the other was injured and arrested.
On 31 October 2015, a flight from Sharm el Sheikh to St Petersburg crashed in North Sinai resulting in the deaths of 224 people, mostly tourists. Egyptian and Russian authorities are conducting an investigation. The investigation hasn’t yet formally concluded, but on 17 November 2015 Russian authorities stated that the crash was caused by an explosive device on board the flight. On 24 February 2016, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt said during a speech that the crash was an act of terrorism.
In July 2015, a foreign national was kidnapped in the western desert. He was murdered in August 2015. Daesh-Sinai claimed responsibility for the murder. ABM also claimed responsibility for the death in August 2014 of a US oil worker in the western desert.
In July 2015, there was an explosion at the Italian Consulate in Cairo.
On 10 June 2015, an attack on a security checkpoint at the Karnak Temple site in Luxor was repelled by Egyptian security personnel, resulting in the death of 2 attackers.
The last terrorist attack in South Sinai involving British nationals was in April 2006 when a series of bombs exploded in Dahab, killing 23 people and injuring 80, including 2 British nationals.
There is also a threat of maritime terrorism. In August 2013, there was an attack against a container ship in the Suez Canal and an attack on Egyptian navy vessels in November 2014 may also be linked to terrorism.
Be vigilant, monitor media reports and keep up to date with the travel advice covering your location. Take extra care over local holiday weekends, as some past terrorist attacks have occurred during these times. A list of local holidays can be found on the website of the British Embassy in Cairo.
There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.