Egypt protects WEF from sea attack

Daily Star Egypt Staff
3 Min Read

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: Egyptian security closed jetties and moved boats for divers away from the scene of a World Economic Forum event opening on Saturday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, scene of bomb attacks last year. Police also brought in extra security to check people arriving in the small beach and diving resort, where three bombs last July killed 67 people. Police say a group of Sinai Bedouin was responsible for those attacks and for three almost simultaneous bombs which killed 20 people in the nearby resort of Dahab in April. Tour operators said security had closed for the next four days the jetties at Naama Bay and Sharks Bay, close to the brand-new conference center built to hold the prestige event, which is bringing together more than 1,000 business people. Boats crossing the straits to Tiran Island, a popular diving spot, received orders to keep well away from the area. Security people at hotels searched car boots and checked identity papers even more carefully than usual. Egyptian police say they have killed or captured many members of the mysterious bombing group since the Dahab attacks but an incident on Friday showed that it is still active. A man wanted in connection with the bombings killed himself by accident while trying to attack police, security sources said. President Hosni Mubarak will open the business event on Saturday afternoon. Other prominent participants are Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow. The Egyptian government wants the event to attract investment to the country by showcasing the steps it has taken to liberalize the economy in the last two years. But the country s image abroad has suffered in recent months because of the government s measures against the opposition and against people campaigning for judicial independence. On Thursday, plainclothes security men beat, kicked and clubbed demonstrators in central Cairo during protests in support of two judges who faced disciplinary procedures. A court also turned down a request for a retrial from liberal opposition politician Ayman Nour, who came a distant second to Mubarak in presidential elections last year. Both the United States and the European Union have criticized excessive measures used by security forces. Agencies

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