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Messages for U.S. Citizens

Security Message to U.S. Citizens No. 44: Maintaining Good Personal Security in Egypt

May 13, 2013

The knife attack on the Embassy’s perimeter, along with weekend media reports acknowledging that Egyptian authorities have disrupted a terror cell possibly targeting Egyptian and Western interests, serve as yet another reminder of the need to exercise good situational awareness.  Effective situational awareness starts with fully understanding the threat environment and elevating your personal alert level when indicators are present or as the environment may dictate – oftentimes in more public settings.  Security and Emergency Messages to U.S. Citizens over the past year portray an environment where elevated awareness and good security habits must become normal practice. 

In an incident on May 9, 2013 involving the stabbing of a U.S. citizen on the Embassy perimeter, the victim was approached by an unknown person who asked whether he was an American.  The victim turned away from his attacker, at which point the attacker stabbed the victim with a knife.  Though in general, anti-American sentiment is not directed at individual U.S. citizens in Egypt, U.S policy in the region does elicit strong, often negative emotions in Egypt.  Therefore, U.S. citizens should consider their profile as U.S. citizens, and possibly adjust depending on the area they are in, including near the Embassy compound, or the person/s with whom they may be interacting.  Moving in and around the Embassy perimeter can readily identify U.S. citizens as such.

The Egyptian Minister of Interior’s announcement on May 11 that a terror cell was disrupted signals the need to be vigilant and exercise good security habits.  The most vulnerable periods are normally when departing/arriving from/to residence/workplace and therefore should be a time of elevated awareness.  Please do not set routine patterns; vary your times and routes.  Get a sense of what/who belongs in the neighborhood and  report anything appearing out of the ordinary or suspicious.

As a matter of general practice, U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large gatherings may occur.  Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens in Egypt are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.

The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to review their personal security plans and remain alert to their surroundings at all times in Egypt.  For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website where the Worldwide Caution,  Country Specific Information for Egypt,Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts, can be found.  Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes or Google Play to have travel information at your fingertips.    

Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or, for callers outside of the United States and Canada, on a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). 

U.S. citizens are advised to maintain valid travel documents and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy Cairo through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program website.  If you enroll we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements and can also help your family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.  U.S. citizens without Internet access may enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

For further information, U.S. citizens may call the Embassy’s American Citizens Services Unit at 2797-2301 during business hours, Sunday to Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  Please refer to the American Citizens Services Facebook page at:  www.facebook.com/USEmbassyCairo.  For emergencies after business hours and on weekends and holidays, U.S. citizens can contact the Embassy Duty Officer via the Embassy switchboard at 2797-3300.  The Embassy is located at 5 Tawfik Diab Street (formerly known as Latin America Street), Garden City, Cairo.