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Canadian Embassy Suspends Public Services in Egypt Over Security Concerns

Canadian Embassy Suspends Public Services in Egypt Over Security Concerns

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The Canadian Embassy in Cairo suspended its services on Monday, citing security concerns, one day after a similar move from the British Embassy.

“The ability to provide consular services may occasionally be limited for short periods due to unsettled security conditions,” the embassy posted on its official website.

An automated message on the embassy’s landline also announced that “the embassy is presently closed,” despite having made the call during the embassy’s office hours.

The British Embassy in Cairo suspended on Sunday public services due to “security considerations”, according to an embassy spokesperson. He added that the decision was taken “to ensure the security of the embassy and its staff.”

A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that a recently-detained suspected militant had confessed to Egyptian authorities “plans to target foreign embassies.”

The embassy spokesperson told Aswat Masriya he cannot comment on such “speculations”.

Militants have stepped up attacks targeting security forces in Egypt, particularly in the Sinai Peninsula, since the army’s ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which followed mass protests against his rule.

At least 30 military personnel were killed in a suicide blast which targeted a security checkpoint in Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid on October 24, in the worst militant attack since Mursi’s ouster.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which has changed its name to Sinai Province since pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack in a video released on November 14.

The group claimed last week responsibility for the killing of an American petroleum engineer who was found dead in a car in the desert last August.

In a security message issued on Thursday, the United States embassy advised its citizens to “carefully scrutinise their personal movements and consider staying close to their residences and neighborhoods over the coming period.” The embassy cited clashes at several universities and Cairo neighbourhoods as one of the reasons for its message.

The UK embassy did not specify when it will resume its public services in Cairo. The British consulate in Alexandria is nevertheless normally operating, the embassy’s website said.

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British Embassy Suspends Public Services in Egypt Over Security Concerns

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Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

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