The United States state department issued on Friday travel warnings to Egypt and Jordan. It warned its citizens from threats by terrorist groups and called on them to consider the risks of travelling.
The warnings were issued to diplomatic personnel and citizens to avoid travelling to the Western Desert and Sinai Peninsula outside the beach resort of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt. The statement also said that diplomatic personnel are only allowed to travel to Sharm El-Sheikh by air.
The statement added that terrorist attacks could happen anywhere in the country; however, there is heavy security presence in Red Sea resorts, including Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, and temples and archaeological sites located in and around Greater Cairo. Luxor and Aswan were also among the locations deemed safe.
The state department mentioned a number of terrorist attacks that had occurred in Egypt over the past few months by Islamic State (IS), including the deadly attack on the St. Paul and St. Peter Church located near the main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo.
Following the church incident, Egypt intensified security measures. Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar held a meeting with security personnel for plans and security measures to be taken to secure people and vital institutions during Christmas celebrations.
Another warning from the state department was issued against travelling to Jordan after IS successfully carried out terrorist attacks in the Jordanian city of Karak, which left at least 10 dead, including one Canadian tourist and seven Jordanian security personnel. The statement said that US citizens should avoid travelling to the borders of Jordan with Iraq and Syria as both countries have a heavy IS presence.
Following the series of mass uprisings across the Arab world in 2011, political turmoil has increased in the region. Jordan was deemed as one of the most stable countries in the Middle East; however, it has been experiencing turmoil over the past few months as IS is attempting to gain ground in the country.