January 14, 2016 / 4:38 PM / 2 years ago

Egypt announces further security measures in key tourist resorts

Egyptian security personnel guard the entrance to the Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, January 9, 2016.Mohamed Abd El Ghany

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is introducing a series of new security measures at its holiday resorts, the tourism ministry said on Thursday, a week after suspected militants armed with knives wounded three European visitors to Hurghada.

The measures include installing additional closed circuit television (CCTV) camera systems in the Red Sea resorts of Sharm al-Sheikh and Hurghada, the ministry said in a statement,

The government is also buying new scanning and detection equipment and increasing the number of security personnel and sniffer dogs for resorts. An additional 250 million Egyptian pounds ($32 million) will be allocated for security.

"These additional measures bring our tourist security to another level. However, we will not stop there. We constantly review our capabilities ... and will continue to do so," said Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou.

Egypt is fighting a wave of Islamist militancy and suspected militants armed with knives wounded two Austrian tourists and a Swede at a hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada on Friday evening. Security forces shot and killed at least one of the attackers after they stormed the beachside Bella Vista hotel, officials said.

In October, Islamic State claimed responsibility for downing a Russian passenger plane, killing all 224 people on board, most of them tourists returning home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, across the water from Hurghada.

Last month, Egypt hired global consultancy Control Risks to review security at its airports but said it had found no evidence so far of terrorism or other illegal action linked to it. In November Russia said the jet was brought down by a bomb.

The disaster has cost Egypt about 2.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($280.97 million) a month in direct losses and Zaazou told Reuters in December he sees tourism receipts in 2015 falling 10 percent on the previous year as a result.

Egypt earned about $7.2 billion in tourism revenues in 2014, still a far cry from around $12.5 billion before the 2011 uprising, which ushered in a period of political turmoil that scared away tourists and foreign investors.

Islamic State said on Friday it had carried out an attack on Israeli tourists in Cairo on Thursday, in response to a call by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to target Jews "everywhere".

Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; Editing by Catherine Evans

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