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8 Jan, 2016 18:56

Foreign tourists stabbed & slashed in attack on Egyptian resort of Hurghada

Two armed attackers have stormed a hotel in the Red Sea city of Hurghada, one of Egypt’s most popular tourist resorts, wounding at least three foreign tourists. The assailants were neutralized by security forces.

The Egyptian Health Ministry said that three foreign tourists – two Austrians and one Swede – were stabbed and slashed in the attack, Ahram Online reported.

The attack took place at Bella Vista Hotel on Friday evening. Security sources told Reuters that the assailants arrived by sea to carry out the attack.

The two terrorists got into the hotel through its restaurant, which has a street entrance, an Interior Ministry statement said. Security forces managed to neutralize the attackers and prevented them from running away. One of them was armed with a cold weapon, the other had a signal gun, according to reports.

One terrorist was killed, the other was wounded as a result of a standoff with government forces.

Earlier media sources reported that at least one gunman had been wearing an explosive belt and three tourists were killed. However. This information wasn’t confirmed by the ministry.

The latest assault comes as shortly after Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for a Thursday attack on Israeli tourists in Cairo. Last month, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on supporters to target Jews “everywhere.”

There were no further casualties, Egyptian authorities reported, adding that the assailants had been trying to target security forces, not the tourists. Security sources told Reuters that in fact the tourists were Israeli Arabs.

No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack so far. However, experts agree that it does bear all the marks of an IS attack aimed at the developing state.

“Egypt is a target of ISIS. It is a key in the region, working with Russia and other countries to defeat that terrorist enemy that we are all facing,” analyst Lawrence Freeman told RT. One a larger scale, he believes, the attacks in Egypt are meant to destabilize its strengthening economy, in particular, cutting of its tourist revenue.

“That is exactly why ISIS and people running ISIS are targeting that area – [because] of their economy,” Freeman said.

In October last year, a Russian A321 passenger jet was downed by a bomb over the Sinai peninsula, killing 224 people. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.