Two suspected militants stabbed and wounded two Austrians and a Swede at a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort city of Hurghada, the interior ministry has said.
Security forces opened fire at the two assailants on Friday, killing one and seriously wounding the other, according to a ministry statement. It said two men armed with knives had entered the outdoor restaurant at the front of the Bella Vista hotel and attacked the tourists. The dead attacker was identified as a 21-year-old student from Cairo’s neighbourhood of Giza. Both attackers, the interrior ministry 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 pellets at a security post outside hotel where Arab Israeli tourists were staying.
Egypt has been battling an insurgency by militants led by the local affiliate of Isis. The insurgency has been centred at the northern part of the Sinai peninsula but has frequently spilled over into the mainland since the ousting in 2013 of the 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 weathering 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 about 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 affect Egypt’s tourist industry, which was badly hit 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 resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Isis affiliate has claimed it downed the aircraft with a bomb to avenge its fighters and civilians killed in Russian airstrikes in Syria. The Guardian