WASHINGTON, District of Columbia,Â Aug 15, 2013Â (AFP)
The United StatesÂ warned its citizensÂ on ThursdayÂ not to travel to Egypt and called on thoseÂ already there to leave.
The travel warning was issued one day after a brutal crackdown on streetÂ protests in Cairo ordered by Egypt’s military-backed government left more thanÂ 500 people dead.
Any Americans who remain in Egypt despite the warning were urged to obeyÂ all local curfews in place and to avoid street demonstrations.
“Political unrest … shows little sign of abating,” the State DepartmentÂ statement said.
The warning said that foreigners caught up in the violence could becomeÂ targets for “harassment or worse” and noted that a US citizen was killedÂ during a demonstration in Alexandria in June.
“Of continued concern is gender-based violence in and around protest areasÂ where women have been the targets of sexual assault,” it added.
Tourism was once a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, with millions ofÂ foreign visitors flocking to see the pyramids and ancient ruins.
But numbers dropped dramatically after a 2011 revolution overthrewÂ long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak and ushered in a period of instability,Â heightened last month by the ousting of the country’s first elected MohamedÂ Morsi.
Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab world, is also a major marketÂ for private US firms, some of which are now pulling out of the country orÂ scaling back operations.
US auto giant General Motors announcedÂ ThursdayÂ that it was suspendingÂ production at its Egyptian plant while it re-evaluates the security situation.
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