The US Embassy has warned American citizens in Cairo to remain alert and be aware the diplomatic mission has “credible information” terrorists are “targeting female missionaries in Egypt.”
U.S. citizens were also told the “exercise vigilance, taking necessary precautions to maintain [their] personal security.”
The warning, issued Friday, advised U.S. citizens to keep their travel documents handy and make sure they are valid. It also reminded Americans to monitor the updated travel warnings and alerts on the website of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Last Friday, U.S. Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) vowed to block $450 million in U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in view of the unstable diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Granger, chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations that oversees foreign aid, said in a statement, “I am not convinced of the urgent need for this assistance and I cannot support it at this time.... I have placed a hold on these funds.”
Earlier this year, Egypt arrested and placed on a travel ban list a group of Americans employed by two pro-democracy nonprofit organizations funded by the U.S. Government, shutting down both offices as well as 15 other similar groups.
The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) were both shut down in January by the Egyptian government in a sweep of non-governmental groups that receive funding from abroad. The son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Sam LaHood, was among the six, and was personally blocked from leaving the country.
On the anniversary of the 2001 “9/11” Al Qaeda terror attack on America, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attacked by a screaming mob of thousands of Islamist protesters. The American flag was torn down from the building and replaced by one bearing Arabic writing.
More than a dozen protesters and at least six police officers were injured in the days-long riots, which security personnel were forced to disperse with the use of tear gas canisters and other measures. Demonstrators torched vehicles at the site, and hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police and at the embassy, as well as at nearby diplomatic missions as well.