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Russia condemns terrorist act in Sinai

August 20, 2013, 18:21 UTC+3

Foreign Ministry spokesman notes obvious provocative nature

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MOSCOW, August 20 (Itar-Tass) - Russia condemned the terrorist act against the Egyptian military on the Sinai Peninsula on August 19, the Foreign Ministry said.

On August 19, a group of radical Islamist militants attacked buses with Egyptian army troops and policemen in the Rafah area. As a result, 24 military personnel were killed and three injured.

“The provocative nature of this act, committed during a complex period of transformation in Egypt, is obvious. The Egyptian authorities are continuing efforts to ensure security in Sinai and neutralize terrorist and criminal groups that operate them,” the ministry said on Tuesday, August 20.

“Moscow strongly condemns this terrorist act and expresses sincere condolences to the families of the killed Egyptian military,” it said.

The ministry reiterated its recommendation to Russian tourists in Egypt to stay within their resort compounds.

The situation at Egyptian resorts, primarily in Hurghada an Sharm el-Sheikh, is on the whole controlled by the authorities, the ministry said.

However, it said that the situation in the country in general remains tense. According to official reports, more than 850 people have been killed and thousands injured in Egypt since the start of the acute phase of confrontation in the country.

The ministry advised Russian citizens to refrain from travelling to Egypt.

The Russian Embassy in Egypt said there was no threat to Russian tourists at Egyptian resorts. “The situation at resorts is calm. Nothing extraordinary has been registered there. There is no threat to tourists,” Izeddin Shakhin, the embassy’s spokesperson, told ITAR-TASS.

He said “the government of Egypt pays much attention to the security of tourists, especially Russians ones.”

Shakhin noted that the general situation in the country “is one the way to stabilisation.”

However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said that “the clashes and riots in the [Egyptian] capital are quickly spreading to other cities and regions of Egypt, including those that are visited by tourists” and advised Russian citizens to refrain from travelling to Egypt.

Mass clashes between police and the supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi occurred in Cairo, Alexandria and other Egyptian cities. A state of emergency and a curfew were introduced.

There are no casualties among the Russian tourists vacationing in Egypt now, the Foreign Ministry said.

It advised Russian citizens in Egypt to avoid areas where mass protests are taking place, and those who are arriving in the country as tourists to refrain from trips beyond the resorts and exclude visits to Cairo and other major cities.

There are about 40,000 Russian tourists vacationing in Egypt now.

The ministry advised Russian tourists vacationing in Egypt to stay away from regions swept by protests and refrain from travelling beyond their respective resorts.

Russian Tourism Agency (Rostourism) Head Alexander Radkov said that no Russian tourists would remain in Egypt by October if travel agencies stopped selling tours to that country.

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