The government has concentrated much of its time and attention in recent years on combating Islamic extremists, who have in particular targeted Copts (Egyptian Christians). In 1997, a terrorist attack on foreign tourists killed 70. During the 1990s, about 26,000 Islamic militants were imprisoned and dozens were executed.
Egypt and Sudan resumed diplomatic relations in March 2000, which had broken off in 1995 after Egypt accused Sudan of attempting to assassinate Hosni Mubarak. Human rights activists have increased their criticism of Egypt for its heavy-handed crackdown on potentially disruptive Islamic groups, and for the harassment of intellectuals advocating greater democracy.
In July 2005, President Mubarak announced he would seek a fifth six-year term. Earlier in the year Mubarak had amended the constitution to allow for multiparty elections, the first in Egyptian history, and on Sept. 6, Mubarak was reelected with 88.6% of the vote. Turnout was 23%.
In March 2007, voters overwhelmingly endorsed changes to the Constitution that strengthened the presidency. Voter turnout was low, at about 27%, and opposition groups claimed the vote was rigged.
U.S. President Obama spoke of forming an alliance with Muslims during a visit to Cairo, Egypt in June 2009. He called for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, asking for new alliances based on mutual respect and common interests.