The United States’ Department of State has lifted the ordered departure status for US embassy personnel in Cairo and Egypt.
“The US Department of State alerts US citizens of the risks of travelling to Egypt due to the continuing political and social unrest. This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on 18 December 2013, and will expire on 16 March 2014,” the statement on its website said.
Based on an assessment of the security situation in Egypt, the Department of State lifted the ordered departure status for US Embassy personnel on 6 November 2013 and lifted ordered departure status for US Consulate General Alexandria on 16 December 2013. However, Consulate General personnel will be based in the US Embassy in Cairo while the required facility security upgrades are made.
Political unrest, which intensified after the July 2013 change of government, is likely to continue in the near future. Demonstrations have, on numerous occasions, resulted in violent clashes between security forces and protesters and between protesters supporting different factions, some of which have resulted in deaths, injuries and property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators.
Of continued concern is gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the targets of sexual assault. There have been instances of the use of firearms as well. Most violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including Cairo and its suburbs, Alexandria and Port Said.
The security situation in North Sinai, including the major east-west coastal highway and the towns of El Arish, Shaykh Zuwayd, El Gorah and Rafah, has been marked by ongoing violent attacks on Egyptian security personnel and frequently intense security operations against the sources of violence. The US Department of State strongly urges US citizens to avoid travelling to North Sinai.
The security situation in most tourist centres, including Luxor, Aswan, the Luxor-Aswan Nile cruise routes, and Red Sea/Southern and Western Sinai resorts such as Hurghada, Sharm el Sheikh, Dahhab, Nuweiba and Taba have been calm. “US citizens should remain alert to local security developments,” the department said.