|Killer? ... shark in waters off Sharm el-Sheikh|
6 November 2010By From VIRGINIA WHEELER,in Sharm el-Sheikh
THE shark cruising the shores of Sharm el-Sheikh has been put there by spies from Israel's Mossad agency, Egyptian officials bizarrely claimed yesterday.
Regional governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha said: "What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark in the sea to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question. But it needs time to confirm."
Meanwhile, the authorities were slammed after insisting it was SAFE for holidaymakers to go back into the water. Tourism minister Zuhair Garana said: "Diving is being allowed.
We are advised that sharks will not attack divers.
I cannot say that deep waters are completely secure but shallow waters are 100 per cent secure."
Jim Kennedy, a bar boss from Manchester, said officials were touring the area telling people the sea was safe. He said: "Clearly that's been proved wrong. It's reckless."
Travel firms Thomson and First Choice yesterday cancelled all boat trips and watersports and advised Brits to stay out of the water.
shark with a GPS planted in its back
Speaking on the public TV program "Egypt Today" yesterday, a specialist introduced as "Captain Mustafa Ismael, a famous diver in Sharm El Sheikh," said that the sharks involved in the attack are ocean sharks and do not live in Egypt's waters.
When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, "no, who let them in."
Urged to elaborate, Ismael said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt's waters only.
"Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until it entered Sinai?" said Ismael.
Earlier today, General Abdel Fadeel Shosha, the governor of South Sinai, backed Ismael's theory. In a phone call to the TV program, he said that it is possible that Israeli intelligence, Mossad, is behind the incident and that they are doing it to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry. He added that Egypt needs time to investigate the theory.
Hanafy refuted the allegations, saying that the Oceanic White Tip, blamed for the attacks, does indeed exist in Egypt's waters. He also added that the existence of a GPS inside the shark does not mean there is a conspiracy at play, adding that these "tracking devices" are often used by marine biologists to study sea life.
"Here in Egypt we put these devices on turtles, in danger of becoming extinct, so that we can watch their behaviour, see where they live, feed and lay their eggs," explains Hanafy. "It sends signals to the satellite every time the creature appears on the surface of the ocean. It is sad that they made a person whose only knowledge of sharks comes from the movie Jaws go on national TV to propagate this mumbo-jumbo."
This morning, a team of Egyptian and foreign divers and photographers started surveying the popular diving spots of Sharm El Sheikh, the Ras Mohamed Protectorate, and Tiran.
According to General Shosha, the surveillance will be conducted for 72 hours in diving areas and 24 hours in swimming and snorkelling areas.
Shosha added that shark experts from Australia and the US were expected to arrive soon. He also added that several beaches are temporarily closed and tourists are currently redirected to alternative beaches in the Ras Mohamed Protectorate, and for the first time the Nabq Protectorate has been opened to accomodate tourists.
Earlier today, Hisham Gabr of the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports said that Sharm El Sheikh will be open for diving tomorrow, but only for divers with at least 50 logged dives.