Despite what appears to be greater calm on the streets in Egypt over the weekend, the State Department sent out a new Travel Warning on Sunday, Feb. 6, that instructs all American citizens to leave Egypt now.
The new, stronger alert replaces a previous Travel Warning from Feb. 1 that called for the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and their families. The State Department had been chartering planes to help evacuate American citizens from Cairo, but those flights have now stopped. Nevertheless, the new Travel Warning calls for all citizens to leave Egypt, noting the potential for more violence in the offing.
"U.S. citizens should consider leaving Egypt as soon as they can safely do so, due to ongoing political and social unrest," the Travel Warning stated. "Large-scale demonstrations with the potential for violence continue in several areas of the country, and there are periodic overland travel disruptions."
The international airport in Cairo is open and has availability on outgoing flights, the State Department said, adding that travelers can also leave Egypt from airports in Luxor, Alexandria, and Aswan.
"Do not wait for a reply from the embassy or the Department of State before traveling to the nearest airport; further delay is not advised," the warning stated.
The State Department is also calling on U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations and to not go near Tahrir Square, for fear that foreigners could again become targets of violence.
Travelers are still encouraged to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://travelregistration.state.gov. If you are in Egypt and have an emergency, you can contact the embassy at EmergencyEgyptUSC@state.gov or at 1-202-501-4444 during business hours and after hours at 2797-3300.
John Hudson reports on national security and foreign policy from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom, the White House to Embassy Row, for The Cable.