UK repeats US travel warning for October holiday, Interior MInistry says nation is secure

The United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued an official warning for Egypt over the holiday weekend "until 9th October", apparently following the lead of the US Embassy in Egypt.

In a travel-warning update on Friday, the FCO said: "We advise avoiding large gatherings and public spaces such as concert halls, movie theaters, museums, shopping malls, and sports venues in Cairo until 9th October."

The UK's warning was essentially the same wording as an official message posted on the US State Department's website for travel warnings, suggesting that the UK is merely passing on advice from the US.

The new US message sparked an angry reaction from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry, which said such warnings could damage the Egyptian economy. The ministry demanded to know why it had not been informed beforehand.

While the UK did not identify the original source of its warning, the Canadian Embassy website, which carried the same message, did identify the US Embassy as its source.

The travel warning mentioned “potential security concerns through October 9," but did not elaborate on the possible source of danger. The Canadian Embassy later repeated its warning by Twitter, but this time it did not quote the US Embassy as its source.

In addition to the new alert, the US Embassy's travel warning website maintains its general advice to US citizens in Egypt, saying they should "review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Egypt.”

'No indicators of threats'

On Sunday, Egypt's Interior Ministry said that it had no indications of particular threats to security over the holiday period, calling into question the basis of the US warning.

"We have no information nor indicators on existing security threats during the current period that support the warnings on the topic being circulated by some," said Assistant Interior Minister for Media and Relations Major General Tariq Ateya.

He said Egypt's police forces are vigilant and well-prepared to defend the country against security threats.

He added that the Interior Ministry’s strategies have succeded in establishing stability and security across the nation.

On Friday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry responded to the new US warning, saying, “Issuing such unjustified statements may have negative consequences, including damaging the economy.”

In a statement late on Friday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the US Embassy had not informed authorities of the reasons behind its new travel warning or the specifics of the security concerns.

Egyptians are celebrating a national holiday this weekend, commemorating the October 6, 1973 victory, in which Egyptian forces crossed the Suez Canal, launching a war with Israel to reclaim Sinai.

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