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Sharm el-Sheikh resort in world spotlight as Egypt's Mubarak flees Cairo
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By Laura Bly, USA TODAY
The Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular winter beach getaway for Europeans but unfamiliar to most American visitors, has assumed a starring role in Egypt's political drama as President Hosni Mubarak reportedly headed there Friday after resigning office.
CAPTIONBy STEPHEN JAFFE, AFP/Getty Images
Sometimes called the "Peace City" because it has been the site for many international peace conferences, Sharm el-Sheikh (pop. 35,000) is the best known among the resort towns on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and home to many high-end hotels, including Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. A worldwide magnet for scuba divers and snorkelers, it was in the headlines last December after an unusual string of shark attacks left one German vacationer dead and four other tourists injured. Five years earlier, it was the target of terrorist attacks that killed 88 people, most of them Egyptian.
In contrast to Cairo and Alexandria, Sharm el-Sheikh has remained relatively calm since the protests began. While the U.S. and other governments have warned their citizens to avoid all travel to Egypt, Britain - the source of most Red Sea international visitors - has stopped short of advising against travel to the isolated and heavily guarded area.
Mubarak "has been living in Sharm el Sheikh on and off for the last ten years. He has houses and palaces there," Discover Egypt's managing director David Wiles told Travel Weekly. " There's no reason why news that he had returned there should have a damaging effect."
Posted Feb 11 2011 12:36PM
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