February 18, 2014 - 17:00 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A militant Islamist group has warned tourists to leave Egypt and threatened to attack any who stay in the country after February 20, raising the prospect of a new front in a fast-growing insurgency, Reuters reported.
The Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed two South Korean tourists and an Egyptian on Sunday, Feb 17 made the statement on an affiliated Twitter account.
"We recommend tourists to get out safely before the expiry of the deadline," read the tweet, written in English.
The warning has not appeared on jihadi websites but the Twitter account has been accurate in the past.
Islamist militants have killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers since the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July, but Sunday's attack on a tourist bus marks a strategic shift to soft targets that could devastate an economy already reeling from political turmoil.
"What Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has announced, threatening to target tourists in the coming period, puts new challenges in front of the Egyptian security apparatus and the state in general," said Interior Ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif.
He said these incidents had both domestic and international ramifications.