Egypt bashes US Embassy's warning about incidents at pyramids

Posted By KATE STANTON,  |  June 3, 2013 at 8:15 PM
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Ahmed Eissa, Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, said Saturday in an email to Ahram Online, that the American Embassy in Cairo had drawn an inaccurate portrait of safety at the nation's most famous tourist destination, the Giza pyramids.

The embassy had warned American tourists of "over-aggressive vendors" hassling visitors to the pyramids in a manner nearing "criminal conduct."

"U.S. citizens should elevate their situational awareness when traveling to the Pyramids, avoid any late evening or night travel, utilize a recommended or trusted guide, and closely guard valuables," the embassy in Cairo said in a message on its website last week.

Eissa called the reports "baseless," saying that his ministry hadn't received any visitor complaints.

The U.S. Embassy's report said that the most serious incidents involved people pounding on tourist vehicles, occasionally attempting to open doors.

"While the motive is less clear (possibly related to carriage operators wanting fares), it has severely frightened several visitors," the embassy said. "A common theme from many of these reports is the lack of visible security or police in the vicinity of the Pyramids."

According to USA Today, the aggressive behavior began several months after Egypt's 2011 revolution, with some vendors demanding over-the-top sums of money for souvenirs and rides.

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