Chicago Homeland Security Examiner

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July 20, 2019 British Airways announced on Saturday that flights to Cairo have been cancelled for the next 7 days. Lufthansa Airlines also cancelled flights to Cairo until Sunday. Both airlines cited security precaution for the suspended flights.

The British government issued a travel warning for Egypt on Saturday citing a “heightened risk of terrorism against aviation.”

Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said in a statement the country is in talks with the British Embassy in Egypt about British Airways’ decision. The decision to suspend flights was not “issued by the British Ministry of Transport or the British Foreign Office,” the statement said.

Iran — West Tensions
Tensions between Iran and Britain escalated on Friday after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corp seized two British-operated oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions between U.S. and Iran governments leaders have continued to increase since May, when President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Nuclear Deal, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis.

Iran began enriching uranium at higher levels on June 27th, when world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the nuclear deal.

A U.S. military assessment in June blamed Iran for several recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf. After an Iranian missile shot down a U.S. surveillance drone, President Trump called off a plan for retaliatory air strikes at the last minute.

In mid-June, the Pentagon announced plans to deploy about 1,000 additional American troops to the Middle East to address the growing threat posed by Iran. On Friday, a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deployment would include about 500 U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia.

STRAIT OF HORMUZ—Why it matters

Global concerns over a military confrontation between the United States and Iran has resulted in increased oil prices.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly said if Iran closes off the Strait of Hormuz—a move that could cripple some countries economy —it wouldn’t be closed for long.

The Strait of Hormuz separates Iran to the north and the Musandam Governorate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the south. It provides the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and the world’s most strategically important maritime choke point and a main artery for the transport of oil from the Middle East. Approximately 22.5 million barrels of oil a day passed through the Strait of Hormuz as of 2018, according to Vortexa, an energy analytics firm. That’s roughly 24% of daily global oil production, and nearly 30% of oil moving over the world’s oceans.