Tourists flee

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Thomson, Britain's biggest holiday company, which has 1,300 clients in Egypt, said it was cancelling Egypt-bound flights tomorrow and would fly home any clients who wish to return early. Saga Holidays, which specialises in holidays for pensioners, said it was bringing its clients home and cancelling flights. Thomas Cook, which has 270 people on holiday in Egypt, also offered to fly people home.

The Foreign Office, which until yesterday was advising travellers to be "vigilant", expressed shock and regret at the attack, but issued no new advice.

A Swedish travel company cancelled all trips to Egypt and said it would bring home all customers on holiday there. Fritidsresor has about 1,000 people on holiday in Egypt.

Jihan Salah, a spokesman for an Egyptian travel company, said yesterday: "The image for the long run is really bleak." But Egypt's tourism minister, Mamdouh el-Beltagi, insisted: "Egypt is no less safe than any destination including the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and everywhere."