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The New Arab

Shark smugglers 'seeking to sabotage tourism' in Egypt caught

A shark attack took place in a Rea Sea resort earlier this month [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 June, 2016

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Egyptian forces 'foiled a plot' by a criminal gang who were planning to plant sharks off the Egyptian coast with the aims of destabilising the country's struggling tourism sector.
Egyptian authorities claim to have nabbed a gang of shark smugglers in the coastal province of Dumyat who were "plotting to sabotage tourism" in the North African country.

Egyptian intelligence in conjunction with border guards this week arrested the crewof a fishing boat that had been under surveillance after they were allegedly caught receiving a "black bag" filled with sharks in international waters from a "large cargo ship".

"The crew confessed they had received the sharks to shoot films to ruin the country's tourism, spoil the summer fun of Egyptians, make their lives harder and increase the prices of summer resorts," the Intelligence Bureau said.

On Wednesday, authorities ordered an investigation into the incident and to send samples from the confiscated sharks for testing to "confirm if drugs are present in the sharks systems".

Egypt imposed a 15-day ban on sport fishing and offshore swimming earlier this month around the popular Red Sea destination of Ain Sokhna, after a man was attacked by a shark.

     
      Tourism has been struggling since the 2011 uprising [Getty]

Egypt's Environment Ministry officials Mohammad Salim and Beily Hatab said the attack was likely caused by the combination of fishing and swimming in the same spot.

The tourism industry in Egypt has been devastated since the 2011 popular uprising and has been further shaken by two plane crashes in recent months.

A total of 66 people died when an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to Paris plunged into the sea earlier this month.

In October, 224 people died when a bomb blew up a Russian plane flying from Sharm al-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Surprisingly, this is not the first shark-related conspiracy to emerge out of Egypt

In 2010, Mustafa Ismail claimed he had proof of a Zionist conspiracy that was behind several shark attacks off Sharm al-Sheikh.

Electronic equipment had been found on one shark in the area, the captain said – all the proof he needed to show Israeli involvement. Marine biologists pointed out the equipment was a GPS tracking device.

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