Move prompted by security concerns
The British and Canadian embassies in Cairo closed to the public on 8 December over security fears and will remain shut until further notice. Following a request to Egypt's interior ministry, security was increased around both embassies although neither embassy provided further details behind their closure.
On 6 December the Australian government advised its citizens against travelling to Egypt, citing reports "that terrorists may be planning attacks against tourist sites, government ministries and embassies in Cairo."
The heavily-fortified US embassy in Cairo is open as normal but on 4 December it banned its staff from travelling by train or subway. It also forbid them from attending universities in Cairo due to "potentially dangerous activities," including violent protests and terrorist attacks.
Egypt has seen a surge in bombing blamed on Islamic militants based mostly around the Sinai peninsula near the border with Israel, Gaza and the Suez Canal.
The predominant target of the insurgents over the last year has been Egyptian police and soldiers, although Egypt’s most dangerous militant group, Sinai Province, recently claimed responsibility for the murder of an American oil engineer in the western desert in August.