European tourists stabbed at Red Sea resort in Egypt, 2 die

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Two German tourists were killed and four other tourists were wounded at a Red Sea resort on Friday when an assailant swam up to a beach and stabbed them repeatedly with a knife, Egyptian officials and hospital workers announced.

All of the victims were women.

The attack, which took place in Hurghada, 250 miles south of Cairo, was the first significant attack on foreigners in Egypt in more than a year. It came at a time when the country’s battered tourism industry, a vital source of foreign currency, was starting to see a modest revival.

The assailant reached the resort by swimming from a nearby public beach, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. Witnesses described him as a man in his 20s, wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, and said that he shouted in Arabic that he did not want to attack Egyptians.

After stabbing four women at one resort, including two Germans in their 60s who later died, the man swam to an adjacent beach, where he attacked two more women.

An employee at Sunny Days El Palacio resort, who witnessed the second attack, said the man shouted, “You infidels!” after he struck his victims.

The man, who was not identified, was overpowered by hotel staff and arrested. A photo published on an Egyptian news website showed hotel workers restraining a man in a cart who was said to be the attacker.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Hurghada was the scene of a somewhat similar attack in January 2016, when two Islamic State sympathizers attacked European tourists on a hotel terrace, wounding three people. Police officers shot and killed one of the assailants and wounded the other.

The wounded tourists who were attacked on Friday were rushed to hospitals in Hurghada for emergency treatment. Speaking by telephone, a doctor at Hurghada’s main public hospital gave their nationalities as Armenian, Czech and Russian.

The Egyptian state news media initially said the two women confirmed dead were from Ukraine, but later said they were German. A second Egyptian doctor confirmed their nationalities and said they died from wounds to the neck and chest.

Earlier on Friday, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle in Badrasheen, 12 miles south of Cairo, killing five security officials. There was no claim of responsibility for that attack, either, and it was not clear whether the two episodes were connected. Previous attacks in Cairo have been claimed by Islamic State and by Hasm, a shadowy militant group thought to have been drawn from the ranks of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian tourist industry has enjoyed a mild recovery this year after years of ruinous decline. It reached its nadir in October 2015 with the bombing of a Russian jetliner over the Sinai Peninsula by the Islamic State.

The plane was blown up shortly after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt’s biggest Red Sea resort; 224 people were killed. Since then, Russia and Britain have refused to allow their aircraft to fly to Sharm el Sheikh, dealing a heavy blow to the resort despite extensive security improvements by Egyptian officials.

Some of the Red Sea tourist trade has shifted to Hurghada, which is popular with tourists from Eastern Europe. Those visitors have provided a welcome stream of income for Egypt after visitors from Europe and the United States began shying away from Egypt following the political upheaval of 2011.

The Hurghada airport’s website listed arrivals from Germany, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia on Friday.

Source: The New York Times