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Tue 14 Dec 2010 09:43 AM

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Egypt reopens beaches after deadly shark attack

Beach to launch sea patrols by boat and establish watchtowers to monitor shark activity

Egypt reopens beaches after deadly shark attack
One person was killed and four injured in shark attacks at the popular Sharm el-Sheikh resort in Egypt

has reopened its shores to tourists at a popular Red Sea
resort after a series of shark attacks over the last two weeks, which killed
one person and injured four.

Three Russians and a Ukrainian suffered severe
injuries when they were attacked off Sharm el-Sheikh and, on December 5, a
70-year-old woman snorkeler died after a shark tore a piece out of her thigh
and severed her forearm.

"We have allowed the beaches to reopen on
condition hotel owners adhere to new controls to ensure the safety of foreign
tourists while diving or swimming," South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel
Fadil Shousha told reporters.

The controls include continuous sea patrols by boat
and the establishment of watchtowers along the shoreline from which
professional divers equipped with binoculars can monitor against any shark

Tourists will be required to remain within designated
swimming areas and refrain from feeding sharks, Shousha said.

The killing was the first death from a shark attack in
Egypt since 2004. Officials had just lifted a ban on swimming in the area
imposed after the first attacks.

A whitetip seen minutes before the first attacks on
two of the Russians was later identified as the shark photographed when the
German woman was attacked five days later, Elke Bojanowski, an expert on the
Red Sea's whitetip sharks, said.

An international team of scientists was interviewing
witnesses, studying the environment and gathering data from local divers to
understand the shark's behavior.

Speculation has centred on the practice of luring
sharks with bait, or chum, to film them, causing them to associate humans with
food, or a depletion of fish stocks that could force them to seek alternative
food sources.

Sousha said the shark attacks were likely provoked by
a ship that threw meat overboard while passing through the Red Sea,
whetting the sharks' appetites.

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