|sharm el sheikh 311.(Photo by: Associated Press)|
Egypt: Sinai shark attacks could be Israeli plot
By ARIEH O’SULLIVAN / THE MEDIA LINE
Israel rejects the notion as "too ludicrous" for comment; German woman killed near Sharm e-Sheikh, Russian tourists also mauled.
Egyptian officials say they have not ruled out the possibility that a fatal
shark attack in Sinai on Sunday could have been a plot by the
“What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark
[in the sea] to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs
time to confirm,” South Sinai Gov.
Shark kills German tourist at Egyptian
Egypt: Israeli travel warning an attempt to harm
Muhammad Abdel Fadil Shousha was
quoted as saying by the Egyptian state news site egynews.net.
officials said the claims were too ludicrous to comment on. Israel has issued an
advisory warning against travel to Sinai due to plots against Israelis by
terrorist groups linked to al-Qaida.
The fatal shark attack in the Red
Sea off the coast of the resort town of Sharm e-Sheikh killed a German tourist,
just days after four Russians were mauled by sharks and Egypt declared that the
waters were safe.
Experts said that despite announcements that Egypt had
caught the shark, the one actually responsible for the maulings was still on the
Sunday’s attack happened at Nama Bay when a shark bit off the arm
of a snorkling German tourist. The woman reportedly died immediately, reports
The general manager of the Sharm e-Sheikh Marriott Hotel in Nama
Bay, Nagy Arafat, told The Media Line that they closed the beaches until further
“This is something I’ve never seen before. I have never had any
sightings of sharks in the area and if we ever did, it was in the deep waters
and not up on the beach,” Arafat said.
He stressed that the mood was
“calm and cool.”
“We don’t see it affecting the tourism industry in any
big way,” Arafat said.
But Aviv Levy, a shark expert and the curator of
the Underwater Observatory Marine Park in Eilat, said the Egyptians usually
engaged in “smoke screening” when it came to shark attacks.
very strange here. The Egyptians are trying to hide it,” Levy told The Media
Line. “This is very bad news for the sharks. It was strange after the first
attacks last week and now even more so.”
Egyptian authorities launched a
hunt for sharks after four Russian swimmers were mauled at the Red Sea resort
last week. Over the weekend, government conservation officials released photos
of two captured sharks: an oceanic whitetip and a mako.
The mayor of
Sharm e-Sheikh had announced that the beaches were reopened after authorities
deemed that the sharks no longer posed a threat and that it was safe to go back
into the waters. The sandy resort at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula is popular
with European tourists and attracts over 3 million visitors a
Shousha speculated that the sharks in the deep sea could have
become frenzied after a ship transporting livestock dumped dead sheep into the
But Levy said they were more likely becoming bolder after
overfishing forced them closer to shores.
“They are taking away their
fishing places and there are less fish so they are spreading their range of
searching for food.
This is when the sharks and humans meet,” Levy said.
“But sharks usually recognize a person and turn around.”
Levy, attacks in the Gulf of Aqaba happen only once every couple of years and
are very rarely fatal.
“When I heard they were going out to catch the
sharks, I thought to myself that it’ll now be open season on sharks. It’s going
to be difficult for them now. As it is, the shark population has been dwindling
and we don’t see the big ones we used to anymore,” he said.
and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.