Tourists stabbed in hotel attack in Egypt

January 9, 2016 10:30 am

 The Bella Vista Hotel is in the Egyptian resort of Hurghada.

Two suspected militants stabbed and wounded three foreign tourists –
two Austrians and a Swede – at a hotel in ’s Red Sea resort city of
Hurghada on Friday, the Interior Ministry said.
Security forces
opened fire at the two assailants, killing one and seriously wounding
the other, according to a ministry statement.
The ministry said
two men armed with knives had entered the outdoor restaurant at the
front of the seaside, four-star Bella Vista Hotel and attacked the
tourists.
The ministry identified the slain attacker as
21-year-old Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Mahfouz, a student from Cairo’s
neighborhood of Giza. Both attackers, it said, carried knives and pellet
guns.

All three wounded tourists were taken to hospital, where one
was treated and discharged, the statement said. There was no word on the
condition of the other two.
Security officials had initially
said the attackers wounded two tourists, a Dane and a German, but such
discrepancies are common in the immediate aftermath of terror attacks.
The
attack came just hours after the local affiliate of the Islamic State
claimed responsibility for an attack a day earlier on a hotel in Cairo
near the Giza Pyramids. No one was hurt in the Thursday attack in which a
group of over a dozen men fired flares and birdshot at a security post
outside hotel where Arab Israeli tourists were staying.
Egypt has
been battling an insurgency by Islamic militants led by the local
affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group. The insurgency has been
centered at the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula but has frequently
spilled over into the mainland since the ouster in 2013 of the Islamist
President Mohammed Morsi.
The Hurghada attack is a dangerous
precedent since Egypt’s Red Sea resorts have done better than elsewhere
in the country in withering the slump suffered by the vital tourism
sector in the five years of turmoil since an uprising toppled longtime
ruler Hosni Mubarak.
Thursday’s Giza attack was also significant
in that it targeted a hotel in Cairo, a heavily policed city of some 18
million residents, at a time when security appeared to relatively
improve in recent months after a series of bomb attacks.
But the
Hurghada assault is likely to further impact Egypt’s tourist industry,
decimated after the downing in October of a Russian passenger plane over
Sinai that killed all 224 people on board, most of them Russian
tourists returning from the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The
Islamic State affiliate has claimed it downed the aircraft with a bomb
to avenge IS fighters and civilians killed in Russian airstrikes in
Syria.

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