Last updated: 16 October, 2013

Dutch cancel flights to Egypt’s Sharm over rocket threat

Dutch charter airline Transavia has cancelled flights to the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in the restive Sinai peninsula because of the threat of a militant rocket attack, authorities said Wednesday.

“There is a threat from the ground in the Sinai area,” Edmond Messchaert of the Dutch National Counterterrorism and Security Coordinator (NCTV) told AFP.

“It is a generic threat to all aircraft, not only Dutch aircraft.”

Low-cost airline Transavia, which is part of the KLM group, said they had cancelled flights to the Red Sea tourist hub.

“We have postponed our flights to Sharm el-Sheikh for the coming two weeks because of a risk-based assessment done by the KLM group,”spokeswoman Marine Sluiter told AFP.

“We will look at the situation every day until then,” she said, declining to discuss what was in the risk assessment.

Militant attacks on Egyptian security forces after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July have been concentrated in the northern Sinai, while Sharm el-Sheikh is close to the peninsula’s southern point.

Dozens of soldiers and policemen have been killed in daily attacks, as the army has poured troops and armour into the lawless peninsula to crush the insurgency.

Israel’s national carrier El Al last month changed routes it flies to the Red Sea coastal resort of Eilat over security concerns.

A rocket was fired at Eilat from the Sinai in August, but it was intercepted by an Israeli air defence system.