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Country Risk

Incident involving Egyptian navy vessel off Damietta signals collateral risks to shipping at mouth of Suez Canal

13 November 2014

EVENT

Eight Egyptian servicemen are missing and five are wounded after gunmen in a fishing boat opened fire on an Egyptian navy patrol vessel off Damietta.

The navy and air force subsequently destroyed four boats and captured 32 people. Media reporting on the exact distance offshore is conflicted, but the attack appears to have taken place in international waters. This suggests the incident was most likely a chance encounter with smugglers, given that a deliberate attack on navy vessels would have been easier to launch closer to shore or in harbour, and that militants would probably not want to jeopardise their weapons smuggling routes by provoking naval action.



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