The Washington Post reports: If you want to create terror, targeting tourists is a good way to do it.
Egyptians know this well. In 1997, terrorists later linked to the Islamist group al-Gamaa al-Islamiya massacred 58 foreign nationals and four Egyptians at the Deir elBahri archaeological site near Luxor. After the high profile attack and others like it, Egypt’s tourism sector suffered badly. “We are facing the biggest crisis in the history of tourism in Egypt,” Tourism Minister Mamdou el-Beltagi told al-Ahram newspaper at the time.
On Monday, Egypt’s Interior Ministry revealed that 12 people, including at least two Mexican citizens, had been killed in an attack on a tourist convoy in the remote western desert. This time, however, the perpetrators weren’t terrorists. They were a joint police-military patrol.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Interior Ministry said that the group had been in a prohibited area during an operation against terrorist groups and that an investigation would be conducted to determine the “justification for the presence of the tour group.” An account given by the Egyptian tour operator to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo seemed to contradict this, saying that the tourists had been eating at a rest stop in an unrestricted area when they were targeted by Egyptian warplanes. [Continue reading…]