A state of emergency has been declared at Cairo International Airport Sunday as Interpol issued a global security alert in response to the recent escape of prisoners in Iraq, Libya, and Pakistan, some of whom belong to Al-Qaeda.
Security sources at the airport said precautionary measures have been taken in response to the Interpol’s warning, including the inspection of all passengers arriving from Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Mauritania to prevent any “suspicious elements” from infiltrating Egypt and joining militant groups in Sinai.
Interpol issued an international security warning urging airports to be on high alert in the wake of the prison breaks, between which it is investigating possible links.
Prison breaks took place in Pakistan on July 31 in a Taliban-led operation, and in Iraq at the Abu Ghraib prison overnight on July 22. Some 500 convicts, among them senior Al-Qaeda operatives, escaped from Abu Ghraib.
The United States issued a worldwide travel alert warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. The alert prompted the US to close 21 embassies and consulates from Egypt and Libya to Yemen and Afghanistan on Sunday.
“The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday,” as a “precautionary” step, department spokeswoman Marie Harf said last week. Embassies are open on Sunday in some predominantly Muslim countries, where it’s part of the workweek.