Egyptian Tourism under attack
Two suicide attacks against the Egyptian tourist attractions in Karnak and Giza have occurred in the last week. These have coincided with a missile attack against the Sinai airfield used by the United Nations peacekeeping forces and appear to be an attempt by Islamic State (IS) to threaten mainland Egypt rather than limit itself to the Sinai area.
On 4 June two Egyptian tourist police were killed and a conscript was injured by unknown gunmen at the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo. This was followed on 10 June, by an attempted suicide attack against a tourist bus, near Luxor’s famous Karnak Temple in Upper Egypt.
According to the Egyptian Ministry of the Interior, three men, who were injured amid an exchange of fire, carried out the attack. Two were captured during the ongoing firefight, while one escaped (other reports have all three being killed).
The two attacks have been claimed by a groups affiliated to IS and the group also claimed responsibility for the 9 June rocket attacks against the Sinai airfield used by the UN observer force. However, the gunmen have not been formally identified and affiliations have not been confirmed.
If confirmed as IS these three attacks demonstrate their seriousness in ramping up action against the Egyptian state by hitting high-profile locations including the tourist sites at Giza and Karnak, as well as moving from the Sinai towards the mainland.
Even if it isn’t IS, it is a clear endeavor by IS to grab headlines in order to further their cause in Egypt. They are aware that they remain a small group within Egypt compared to Ajnad Misr, and are therefore looking to create a climate of fear through such headline-grabbing techniques.
This will also hit the already struggling Egyptian tourist industry hard, especially with the attack on the tourist bus at Karnak.
Further concerns arise as information has been received confirming that the smuggling routes from Libya to Egypt through the two desert oasis Kufra(Libya)/Siwa (Egypt) are being used to transport IS personnel.
According to 5 Dimensions consultants from Dubai it appears that the attackers in Karnak today were Tunisian they believe IS affiliated and therefore think that IS is using the Libya–Egypt smuggling routes to increase its numbers in mainland Egypt. They further assess that this could lead to further IS claimed attacks against high-profile targets especially during Ramadan.
The detail in this report and the analysis has come from 5 Dimension Consultants in Dubai. 5 Dimensions are a unique company with very detailed understanding of Jihadi activities.