Purdue student relieved friends are safe after Middle East violence

News of the attacks in Libya and Egypt hit too close to home for some Americans who actually lived in the countries.

Eileen Kilpatrick is now a student at Purdue, but she clearly remembers the extensive security measures that were in place while she was living in Cairo, working at the U.S. Embassy there.

Her family had to evacuate during the Arab spring, along with other Americans. During that time, she lived in South Bend and said the city is a second home to her.

The news of the attacks have left her shaken because she spent a lot of time at the embassy that was attacked in Cairo.

Kilpatrick and her family spoke to NewsCenter 16 soon after evacuating Egypt during those initial uprisings.

But even after that, she chose to return and graduate high school with her classmates there.

She said that hearing that some of those friends were so close to these attacks has just left her rattled.

Notre Dame Professor Scott Appleby said this kind of attack is what some extremists use to try to create a reason for more people to join their cause when they feel their movement is losing steam.

“I had worked at the U.S embassy over the summer after my junior year, so the fact that they were attacked - Egyptians trying to get in and burning American flag - that honestly shocked me,” said Kilpatrick. “Its just scary because I still know people who live there and Dad’s friends that work there. So it’s scary to think about that it’s that close to people that I knew.

“These kinds of groups are desperate, so what they are trying to do is find occasions in which they can manufacture a major conflict, a major rift in the Islamic community," said Scott Appleby, Director of The Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame.

Kilpatrick has been able to reach some of her friends that are still in Egypt and thankfully they are all ok.

Professor Appleby did point out that these attacks are thought to be organized by an extremist group using this anti-Mohamed film as an excuse to carry out such violence.

Kilpatrick said despite being on edge, she does not know of any sure plans family friends leaving because of the attack on the embassy, but she has still only had quick communication with them.

The number of Americans that she knows living there has been decreasing since the Arab spring.


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