MOSCOW, February 18. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation at Egyptian resorts remained calm and Russian tourists continued their holidays, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR), Maya Lomidze, said on Tuesday commenting on Egyptian media reports about an extremists’ ultimatum to foreign tourists.
She said the Russian Foreign Ministry was now looking into how real was the danger for tourists after extremists’ threats. “We, for our part, also follow the developments in that country, where at least 35,000 Russian tourists are holidaying now,” she said.
The ATOR executive director said the situation at Red Sea resorts remained calm. “We have received no alarming calls from tourists who are in Egypt now, or from tour operators,” she said. However, Russians who had bought tours for the near future were calling tour operators asking whether it was safe to go there at the moment, she said.
The Federal Tourism Agency (Rosturizm) remained in constant touch with the Foreign Ministry in connection with threats by the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis terrorist group, and promised to shortly come up with recommendations to Russian tourists on holidays in Egypt, agency’s spokeswoman Irina Shchegolkova told Tass on Tuesday.
The Egyptian newspaper El Shorouk reported on Thursday referring to a statement by the group behind the recent terrorist act in Taba, Sinai, that extremists had delivered an ultimatum to foreign tourists, demanding that they leave Egypt by February 20. “We have promised that days will come that will bring more mischief,” it said following an attack on a bus in Taba. “Tourists now have time before February 20 to leave Egypt. Otherwise they will have nobody to blame but themselves,” the ultimatum said.
In their statement, terrorists also threatened with attacks on the new leadership of the country as well as with subversive acts in the tourism and gas sectors aimed at undermining the country’s economy. They were referring to attacks on gas pipelines that have been increasingly frequent of late.
Four people were killed in an explosion on a tourist bus in the Egyptian resort town of Taba on Sunday. The bus was carrying tourists from South Korea on a pilgrimage tour to churches of Cairo and to the Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Three South Korean nationals and the Egyptian driver were among the casualties.