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Egypt shark attacks: Why are Red Sea attacks rising?

Another shark attack Sunday in Egypt left a German tourist dead. Egyptian officials have closed Sharm el-Sheikh beaches. But why are there more shark attacks now?

An Egyptian security boat patrols for sharks off the Sharm el- Sheikh beach resort. A shark killed a German tourist Sunday.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

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A shark attacked an elderly German tourist at an Egyptian Red Sea resort, killing her almost immediately, security and diving officials said Sunday, only days after sharks badly mauled four other European tourists in the waters.

The German woman was swimming in the waters off Sharm el-Sheikh, a famed diving and vacation resort in the Sinai peninsula, when the shark attacked, Egyptian security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to brief the media.

"It was definitely a shark attack," said Hesham Gabar, the head of Egypt's Chamber of Diving and Water Sports. The German Embassy in Cairo could not immediately be reached for comment.

IN PICTURES: Top shark attack locations

Sunday's deadly attack, which forced authorities to indefinitely close the resort's beaches, comes after oceanic white tip sharks mauled three Russians and a Ukrainian tourist last week, also off the coast of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Why now?

Environmentalists warned that the string of recent attacks is likely a result of the Red Sea's declining ecosystem. Gabar, the head of the Chamber of Diving and Water Sports (CDWS) said he's seen a jump in the number of sharks off Egypt's Red Sea coast, which he said could be caused by overfishing, which could force sharks to swim closer to shore in search of food.

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