April 18, 1996: Terrorists shoot tourists and tour guide in Egypt

On April 18, 1996 AGAI killed 17 Greek tourists and an Egyptian tour guide outside a hotel in Cairo.

CAIRO, EGYPT – Some terrorist attacks hit a country right where it hurts most – its economy.

Are you a world traveler? Or even a more local one? Do you enjoy going to places you have never been before, seeing sites you have always wanted to, try foods that are new to you? Maybe you are interested in a different culture and language.

There is no doubt that tourism is big – really big. According to the World Tourism Organisation, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to world GDP (gross domestic product) in 2018 was almost $3 TRILLION, or 3.2% of world GDP. In some nations it constitutes an even larger percentage of the economy.

Take Egypt, for example. The tourism industry contributes more than 12% of national GDP. That means a lot of visits to the Sphinx and the pyramids!

No riddle here why so many come to see me! (Photo: w:es:Usuario:Barcex, CC BY-SA 3.0)

If this sector is so vital to the country’s economy it makes complete sense as to why terrorists would target it, no?

On this day in 1996

Seventeen Greek tourists and an Egyptian tour guide were killed by gunmen in Cairo when the attackers opened fire on a group outside the Europa Hotel. Another 15 were wounded, three seriously. The tourists had just arrived in Egypt from a Holy Land tour of Israel.

There were people lying dead outside the hotel and people injured on the floor crying and screaming.

Harry Poulianas, eye-witness

The Islamist terrorist group Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiyah (AGAI) claimed the attack but lamely added it thought the visitors were Israelis. So, that was their excuse for killing 18 innocent people?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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