Egyptian protest
Egyptian protest Reuters

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has raised its terror threat level in Egypt from “general” to “high”, following reports of an al Qaeda-inspired plot to attack western tourists.

In recent days, Egyptian police reported they had foiled a terror attack aimed at tourists in northern Sinai, close to the border with Gaza.

The Foreign Office said there was now a "high threat of terrorism throughout Egypt, including Sinai.”

Its travel advice for tourists staying at the well-guarded resorts in Sharm el Sheikh remains unchanged, as it said the situation in that particular area is calm and stable.

“Demonstrations happen regularly across Egypt,” the Foreign Office said in a statement on its website. “You should avoid all political demonstrations and large gatherings, especially those in Tahrir Square. If you become aware of any nearby protests you should leave the area immediately.”

“There has been an increase in the number of reports of sexual assaults on women during demonstrations in and around Tahrir Square. Attacks have been experienced by both foreign and Egyptian women,” it continued. “We strongly advise women to avoid Tahrir Square and immediately surrounding areas during demonstrations.”

In October, Sonia Dridi, a French female television reporter for France 24, was surrounded by a group of young men, who began to sexually assault her during a live television broadcast. The attack lasted several minutes before a male colleague managed to pull her away from the mob.

Such assault have become commonplace in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

The raising of the terror also came as more than 1,000 Islamists rallied in Cairo calling for the implementation of sharia Islamic law.

Join our official WhatsApp group