A recent smattering of shark attacks in the shallow waters of the Egyptian resort city Sharm el-Sheikh has visitors in a state of JAWS-like panic. The sharks (now known to be individuals of at least two different species) attacked five times over six days, killing a German tourist and severely injuring four others.
The state of panic is a fertile breeding ground for conspiracy theories. One Sharm el-Sheikh diver named Captain Mustafa Ismail believes that the sharks were trained to attack Egyptians by the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. He explained his theory to Egypt Today (as retold by Ahram Online):
When asked by the anchor how the shark entered Sharm El Sheikh waters, he burst out, “no, it’s who let them in?” Urged to elaborate, Ismail said that he recently got a call from an Israeli diver in Eilat telling him that they captured a small shark with a GPS planted in its back, implying that the sharks were monitored to attack in Egypt’s waters only. “Why would these sharks travel 4000 km and not have any accidents until they entered Sinai waters?” asked Ismail.
When Egypt Today asked the region’s governor, General Abdel-Fadeel Shosha, what he thought of the theory, he said he couldn’t rule it out. It was possible, he said, that Israel was trying to undermine the Egyptian tourism industry, explains SkyNews.com:
Whether this was an Israeli agent in a shark costume, a specially indoctrinated Zionist shark, or a remote controlled cybershark, the general does not elaborate, but he says the theory needs investigating.
“What you have here are rational attempts by a predator to find food,” said Mr Burgess, of the International Shark Attack File based in Florida. He said the dumping of animal carcasses in the area by a cargo ship last month might have contributed to the attacks by attracting the sharks nearer to shore, but said the investigation was ongoing.
Other factors, like overfishing of the shark’s natural prey and tourists feeding wildlife, could have also spurred the attacks. Human activity almost definitely contributed to the sharks’ behavior, Red Sea diver Hossam El-Hamalawy told The Guardian:
“This should be a reminder that the ocean is the shark’s natural habitat and that we are visitors there,” said Hossam El-Hamalawy, a certified Red Sea rescue diver. “When we begin messing with the inhabitants’ behavioural patterns, when we begin messing with their environment, then the consequences can be serious.”
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