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Sharm el-Sheikh beaches to reopen after shark attacks

image captionEgyptian authorities suggested this mako shark was behind some attacks

Egypt says it will reopen beaches at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a spate of shark attacks temporarily forced their closure.

New measures are being put in place to ensure the safety of swimmers in the future, authorities said.

A German woman was killed and four other tourists injured in a series of attacks a week ago.

Many of the resort's main beaches were closed to swimmers and snorkellers after the fatal attack on 5 December.

"We have allowed the beaches to reopen on condition hotel owners adhere to new controls to ensure the safety of foreign tourists while diving or swimming," South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha told reporters.

He said watch stations, manned by divers, would be set up to monitor the coast, and that speed boats would continuously patrol the waters.

Swimmers will also have to remain within designated areas and refrain from feeding sharks, Mr Shousha added.


Egypt has been concerned about the impact of the shark attacks on tourism, which provides a crucial source of foreign currency and jobs in the country.

The 70-year-old German was fatally mauled just metres from the shore one day after the last time the beaches were reopened.

They were closed following shark attacks that injured two Russian snorkellers on 30 November and another one on 1 December.

The 5 December killing was the first death from a shark attack in Sharm el-Sheikh since 2004. But in 2009, a French woman was killed while swimming much further south off the Red Sea coast, near the town of Marsa Alam.

An investigation is underway to understand what caused the sharks' behaviour.

Experts and local observers have speculated that overfishing in the Red Sea may have driven sharks closer to shore.

Meanwhile, some believe predatory sharks could have been drawn to the area after a ship carrying Australian sheep and cattle for sacrifice during last month's Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha dumped the carcasses of animals which had died during the voyage.

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