Egyptian authorities leaving no stone unturned in bid to discover mysterious shark attacks which left German tourist dead. 'Mossad plot not out of the question,' says South Sinai governor.
Shark attacks on tourists in the Red Sea have triggered a flurry of speculation as to what could have caused them, with suggestions ranging from overfishing to an Israeli plot to harm Egyptian tourism.
The body of a 70-year-old German woman washed up on the shore at Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh on the Red Sea after an attack on Sunday. Officials said the shark had taken a chunk out of her right thigh and bitten through her right elbow.
Egypt had just lifted a ban on swimming in parts of the area imposed after three Russians and a Ukrainian were injured in shark attacks last week.
The government has invited international experts to help locate the killer shark but officials were at loss as to what could have caused its behavior.
"There is not one reason that will be ignored. We are seeking any reason that causes a change in shark behavior," Ahmed el-Edkawi, assistant secretary for the South Sinai region, told Reuters.
Some said sharks had been drawn to shallow waters after cattle being shipped in for last month's Islamic feast of the sacrifice, or Eid al-Adha, had died and were thrown overboard.
Others suggested it could have been part of a secret plot by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency.
"What is being said about the Mossad throwing the deadly shark (in the sea) to hit tourism in Egypt is not out of the question, but it needs time to confirm," South Sinai Governor Mohamed Abdel Fadil Shousha was quoted as saying by state news site egynews.net.
Egyptians often blame neighboring Israel for a variety of problems such as drug and weapon smuggling, or say it supports media that seek to portray Egypt in a bad light.
Local diving experts said single shark attacks are extremely rare in the area and were mystified by as to why so many people were attacked in such quick succession.
Tourism sector hit
The attacks grabbed the attention of world media and raised fears of a long-term hit to a tourism sector that is a lifeline for the desert peninsula's population and the biggest foreign currency earner for Egypt.
"We've seen more attacks in a few days than in the previous 15 years," said Florian Herzberg, dive operations manager at the Reef 2000 centre in Dahab resort north of Sharm. "It could be a shark with behavioral problems that was deliberately fed different things and now associates humans with food."
Water sports centers said business had dried up after officials banned snorkeling and swimming, leaving tourists with little to do but speculate over the cause of the attacks.
"Egypt is full of rumors and one does not know what to believe," said Gasser Mohamed, a diving instructor at CFun Divers centre in South Sinai. "I see that there are a lot of sharks in the sea and the possible rarity of tuna fish due to over-fishing seems to be causing the attacks."
More Quotes About "Palestine"
"There is no such country as Palestine. 'Palestine' is a term the Zionists invented. There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries part of Syria. 'Palestine' is alien to us. It is the Zionists who introduced it".
- Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, Syrian Arab leader to British Peel Commission, 1937 -
"There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not".
- Professor Philip Hitti, Arab historian, 1946 -
"It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but Southern Syria".
- Representant of Saudi Arabia at the United Nations, 1956 -
Concerning the Holy Land, the chairman of the Syrian Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference in February 1919 stated:
"The only Arab domination since the Conquest in 635 c.e. hardly lasted, as such, 22 years".
"There is not a solitary village throughout its whole extent (valley of Jezreel, Galilea); not for thirty miles in either direction... One may ride ten miles hereabouts and not see ten human beings. For the sort of solitude to make one dreary, come to Galilee... Nazareth is forlorn... Jericho lies a mouldering ruin... Bethlehem and Bethany, in their poverty and humiliation... untenanted by any living creature... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent, mournful expanse... a desolation... We never saw a human being on the whole route... Hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil had almost deserted the country... Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes... desolate and unlovely...".
- Mark Twain, "The Innocents Abroad", 1867 -
"In 1590 a 'simple English visitor' to Jerusalem wrote: 'Nothing there is to bescene but a little of the old walls, which is yet remayning and all the rest is grasse, mosse and weedes much like to a piece of rank or moist grounde'.".
- Gunner Edward Webbe, Palestine Exploration Fund,
Quarterly Statement, p. 86; de Haas, History, p. 338 -
"The land in Palestine is lacking in people to till its fertile soil".
- British archaeologist Thomas Shaw, mid-1700s -
"Palestine is a ruined and desolate land".
- Count Constantine François Volney, XVIII century French author and historian -
"The Arabs themselves cannot be considered but temporary residents. They pitched their tents in its grazing fields or built their places of refuge in its ruined cities. They created nothing in it. Since they were strangers to the land, they never became its masters. The desert wind that brought them hither could one day carry them away without their leaving behind them any sign of their passage through it".
- Comments by Christians concerning the Arabs in Palestine in the 1800s -
"Then we entered the hill district, and our path lay through the clattering bed of an ancient stream, whose brawling waters have rolled away into the past, along with the fierce and turbulent race who once inhabited these savage hills. There may have been cultivation here two thousand years ago. The mountains, or huge stony mounds environing this rough path, have level ridges all the way up to their summits; on these parallel ledges there is still some verdure and soil: when water flowed here, and the country was thronged with that extraordinary population, which, according to the Sacred Histories, was crowded into the region, these mountain steps may have been gardens and vineyards, such as we see now thriving along the hills of the Rhine. Now the district is quite deserted, and you ride among what seem to be so many petrified waterfalls. We saw no animals moving among the stony brakes; scarcely even a dozen little birds in the whole course of the ride".
- William Thackeray in "From Jaffa To Jerusalem", 1844 -
"The country is in a considerable degree empty of inhabitants and therefore its greatest need is of a body of population".
- James Finn, British Consul in 1857 -
"The area was underpopulated and remained economically stagnant until the arrival of the first Zionist pioneers in the 1880's, who came to rebuild the Jewish land. The country had remained "The Holy Land" in the religious and historic consciousness of mankind, which associated it with the Bible and the history of the Jewish people. Jewish development of the country also attracted large numbers of other immigrants - both Jewish and Arab. The road leading from Gaza to the north was only a summer track suitable for transport by camels and carts... Houses were all of mud. No windows were anywhere to be seen... The plows used were of wood... The yields were very poor... The sanitary conditions in the village [Yabna] were horrible... Schools did not exist... The rate of infant mortality was very high... The western part, toward the sea, was almost a desert... The villages in this area were few and thinly populated. Many ruins of villages were scattered over the area, as owing to the prevalence of malaria, many villages were deserted by their inhabitants".
- The report of the British Royal Commission, 1913 -