9 December- The US State Department warned U.S. Embassy staff in Cairo to remain close to their homes. A memo released by the Bureau of Diplomatic Security reads, “In light of the heightened tensions and recent attacks on Westerners in the region, the U.S. Embassy has recommended that its staff carefully scrutinize their personal movements and consider staying close to their residences and neighborhoods over the coming period.” It is believed that ISIS and affiliated groups may have increased their targeting of Western nationals in recent weeks. Last week, ISIS-linked Egyptian militant group Ansar Beit al Maqdis took responsibility for the killing of Texan oil worked William Henderson, who was reported missing and killed in August. The embassy has remained open.
Meanwhile, the British embassy in Cairo suspended services beginning Sunday. The embassy declined to give details or indicate when it would reopen. The British Consulate-General in Alexandria is operating as normal. A spokesperson for the British embassy stated, “The decision to suspend public services at the embassy has been taken for security reasons and is in the best interests of our staff. The decision is independent of our wider travel advice for Egypt.” An anonymous source indicated that a suspected militant who was recently detained by Egyptian authorities had confessed to plans to target foreign embassies.
On Monday, Canada also closed its embassy in Cairo due to “security concerns.” No other details have been given to explain the closure, but it is thought to be linked to a video released by ISIS on Sunday. The video depicts a man identified as Canadian militant John Maguire (a.k.a. Abu Anwar al-Canadi) urging attacks against his home country. The video refers to the killing of Canadian soldiers and an attack on parliament in Ottawa, and shows Maguire urging Muslims to follow the example of the recent attacks.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney cautioned Canadians in Egypt to remain vigilant. A message on Canada’s Cairo Embassy website states: “The ability to provide consular services may occasionally be limited for short periods due to unsettled security conditions.”
In addition, the US and British diplomatic mission to the United Arab Emirates has warned citizens to be vigilant of further terror attacks targeting Westerners after a school teacher was stabbed to death in a shopping mall and a bomb left outside the home of an American family. The US embassy said it was “engaged at the senior-most levels of the UAE government to ensure the safety and security of US citizens in the UAE,” but urged US citizens to vary their routines and schedules.
Romanian-born Ibolya Ryan, 47, who had become an American citizen and trained as a teacher in the US, died on Thursday after she was attacked by a veiled woman with a butcher’s knife in a public toilet at the Boutik Mall in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital.
A woman has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of Ibolya Ryan, a Romanian-born naturalised American teacher. The woman is also believed to have left a bomb in front of the home of an Egyptian-American doctor. The bomb was defused before it could detonate. It is believed that the woman may have been working with others to target Westerners.
In response to the recent attacks, Aliya Mawani, counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, said that Canada’s Travel advisory for Bahrain is advising Canadians to exercise a high degree of caution: ‘We encourage all Canadians to monitor updates on the Travel Advisory for Bahrain on a regular basis.”