News / Middle East

    Attack Near Cairo Kills 2 Egyptian Officers

    Egyptian security personnel guard the entrance to the Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.
    Egyptian security personnel guard the entrance to the Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.
    Edward Yeranian

    An Egyptian affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group says it carried out an armed attack Saturday that killed two members of security forces on their way to work on the outskirts of Cairo. The gunmen targeted a car carrying a police officer and a soldier in Egypt's Giza province. In a separate attack earlier, on Friday evening, knife-wielding militants stabbed three tourists dining at a hotel in a Red Sea resort.

    International news media said Islamic State supporters posted notices on social media claiming responsibility for the shooting incident on Saturday. Those claims could not be independently verified, but the notes seen online resembled previous messages from Islamic State affiliates in Egypt.

    There was no claim of responsibility for the earlier stabbing attack in the resort town of Hurghada. Three European tourists were wounded but have since been reported in stable condition.

    Cleaners try to clean blood stains near the entrance to Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.
    Cleaners try to clean blood stains near the entrance to Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.

    Video from the scene showed police and medics giving first aid to one of the two assailants who burst into a hotel dining room and began slashing tourists.

    Authorities said the second attacker was shot dead by police.

    Scene of chaos

    “There were many policemen around and we saw a dead man on the floor. ... He only had his bathing trousers on. The other man next to him screamed in pain, but nobody did anything," German tourist Barbara Wolf told a reporter.

    Another tourist, a Swede, said there was "chaos" inside the hotel when the attackers burst in, with hotel guests fleeing in terror.

    The wounded man appeared to be in his teens or late 20s, and was clean-shaven. He appeared to have been shot in both legs, and most of his clothing had been removed — probably to determine whether he might have been wearing a suicide belt filled with explosives.

    Security sources said the attackers had arrived in Hurghada by sea, but no other information about them was released.

    One of the three people wounded, Swedish tourist Sammie Olovsson, wrote on his Facebook page that he had been stabbed four times, but that he was recovering.

    New security measures

    Roadblocks were set up near the hotel and other security measures were put in place. Egypt's tourism minister said later that the government would soon be announcing further security measures to protect foreign tourists at Red Sea resorts and other tourist centers.

    Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazoua talks to journalists at the four-star Bella Vista Hotel, the scene of an knife attack Friday that injured three tourists, in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.
    Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazoua talks to journalists at the four-star Bella Vista Hotel, the scene of an knife attack Friday that injured three tourists, in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, Jan. 9, 2016.

    Two days earlier, attackers fired at a tourist hotel and several empty tourist buses near Egypt's iconic Giza pyramids. A group of Israeli Arab tourists were staying at the hotel outside Cairo at the time of the attack. The same Islamic State group that said it killed the policeman and soldier early Saturday claimed responsibility for the incident on Thursday.

    FILE - Tourists ride camels at the historical site of the Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Apr. 9, 2015.
    FILE - Tourists ride camels at the historical site of the Giza Pyramids in Giza, near Cairo, Apr. 9, 2015.

    Income from tourism is a critical source of revenue for Egypt, but tourist business has declined sharply during the past few years of political turmoil and a growing wave of violent attacks by Islamic militants. Islamic State extremists say they planted a bomb aboard of plane that crashed over Sinai in October, carrying 224 people — most of them Russian tourists — to their deaths.

     

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