An airplane packed with Egyptians and less than five foreigners departed from Cairo in the wee hours of the morning to Sharm El Sheikh.
Security at the airport was tight in the morning with police officers’ eyes keenly observing the X-ray monitor to make sure all goes according to plan. After noting that our team was carrying bottles of fragrances and water, security permitted us to pass without confiscating them.
The plane landed in Sharm El-Sheikh’s airport an hour later with no incident. Despite the fact that only two police officers were sitting at the exit door of the airport, the stationed officer said the number of security personal increased at the airport two weeks ago.
The officer, who has been in Sharm El-Sheikh for almost 18 days, noted that the city is in an ongoing state of emergency. He added that officers are “always prepared”.
“We don’t discuss politics,” he said. “We are only here to protect people.”
The Daily News Egypt team took a taxi and was stopped at the airport’s main exit gate. Officers asked the driver about us, and we were not checked or searched when he responded that we are “only two Egyptians”.
The team was not searched at the main entrance of the popular Naama Bay, where three officers were seated. Walking down Naama Bay at 10 am, an officer stated that “all is well” despite the fact that no one was walking down the street except four Egyptians.
The officer said shops open around 12 pm, and around 1 pm the shops were open but there was no one to serve.
A similar scene was witnessed at the Old Market. Cars were searched by officers while guard dogs sniffed for anything suspicious, but whoever entered on foot was not searched. The market had around two touristic groups roaming around, but they only purchased a few products.
The scene at the Sharm El-Sheikh airport at night was completely different from the morning. Several army and police personal were standing at the main entrance of the airport. People on foot and in vehicles were stopped and searched. Over 20 vehicles were lined up at the entrance to drop off the passengers departing from Sharm El-Sheikh.
Representatives from the British Embassy were present at Sharm El-Sheikh airport to ensure the safe passage of all their citizens and that “everything goes well”.
Security was also tighter at the airport. Unlike Cairo International Airport, passengers were asked to take off their shoes in order to pass through the metal detectors. Police officers appeared on edge and any beeping noise from passengers would send them back for more items to be taken off.
“This is what is done in all airports around the world,” the officer said, replying to a comment made by one of our team members on why security was suddenly tighter.
On the next monitor, a box filled with deodorants, fragrances and scissors was placed next to the officer. Once again our team was stopped for carrying bottles of fragrances.
When one of the reporters told the officer that the bottles were allowed to pass on the team’s way from Cairo to Sharm El-Sheikh, the officer said it was a mistake.
“Look at this box, all these are items that passed through security at the airport,” the officer said. “This box has scissors and small knives.”
One of the drivers we spoke to said Sharm El-Sheikh is extremely safe.
“The ratio of security to residents is three to one,” the 30-year-old driver said. “Nothing more can be done.”