Friday, January 08, 2016

Tourists Injured in Attack on Hurghada Hotel, One Assailant Killed
Menna Alaa El-Din
Friday 8 Jan 2016

Health ministry spokesperson says tourists were stabbed and slashed

Knifemen stormed a hotel in Egypt's Hurghada on Friday evening, injuring a number of foreign tourists before security forces killed at least one of the assailants and ended the attack.

Speaking to Ahram Online, health ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said at least two Swedish tourists and one Austrian were stabbed and slashed. They were sent to the town's Nile Hospital and Red Sea Hospital.

A police statement, however, said that three foreign tourists were wounded, giving their nationalities as two Austrians and one Danish citizen. A final injury toll has yet to be announced.

The attack took place at Bella Vista Hotel in the busy downtown area of Hurghada, a popular tourist resort located on the Red Sea.

Police closed off Sheraton Road where the hotel is located following the attack before re-opening it shortly.

Eyewitnesses at the hotel also told Ahram Online that police were asking bystanders gathered outside the hotel during the attack to leave.

In a statement on Facebook, the police said two assailants were carrying bladed weapons and an imitation pistol.

Meanwhile, an anonymous security source told Al-Ahram Arabic news website the slain armed man wore an explosive belt.

The police said the dead assailant's name was Mohamed Hassan Mahfouz, born in 1994. Security forces severely injured the other armed man as both were attempting to escape.

Both men were able to enter the hotel through a restaurant facing the street, according to the police statement.

Reuters earlier reported security sources as saying that the assailants arrived by sea to carry out the attack.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, although Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis — now affiliated with the ISIS group — has claimed responsibility for many lethal militant attacks in Egypt in recent months.

The attack comes a few months after Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian plane over North Sinai, killing all 224 passengers on board. The airliner was heading from the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh to Russia's St Petersburg.

Egypt has been battling an Islamist insurgency that has spiked since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

The militancy, mostly concentrated in parts of North Sinai, has killed hundreds of police and soldiers. Authorities have also reported that hundreds of militants have been killed in military campaigns in the governorate.

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