National Security Agency demands information on foreigners

A security source in Gharbiya said that the National Security Agency is tightening control over hotels and rented apartments in different governorates before the election, asking that the names and information of foreigners in Egypt, especially Palestinians, be sent to the agency.

An order from the Gharbiya Security Directorate was issued Friday to collect information about all of the foreigners staying in hotels there.

“During the inspection of all hotels and rented apartments in the cities of Tanta and Mahalla, it was noticed that more than one Palestinian booked hotel rooms in recent days,” a statement said.

Major General Ashraf Abdel Kader, head of the criminal investigations department in Gharbiya, said he received a notification saying, “After inspecting by nine hotels and three hostels in the cities of Tanta and Mahalla, 39 foreigners were detected in Gharbiya Governorate, including three Palestinians.”

He said the National Security Agency was notified.

The move comes one week after Egypt's state TV withdrew an ad urging citizens to be wary of foreigners because they could be spies.

The ad triggered a torrent of condemnation on social networking sites, with users slamming it as "ridiculous" and calling it an attempt to stoke xenophobia in a country that heavily relies on revenues from tourism.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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