Egyptian officials have reported that two armed assailants attacked a hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Hurghada on Friday, stabbing and wounding three foreign tourists.
According to the Security Information Center of Egypt’s Ministry of Interior, two Austrians and a Swede (correcting the earlier report of the victims hailing from Denmark and Germany) had been injured by the two attackers who were armed with an air gun and knives.
Reuters has reported that the resort’s security forces opened fire against the two attackers, killing one of the attackers and apprehended the other (information that differed from other news sources throughout the day) who is currently in custody.
The country’s Ministry of Interior identified the slain attacker as 21-year-old Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Mahfouz, a student from Cairo’s neighborhood of Giza.
Egypt’s Ministry of Interior has stated that an investigation was underway following the events.
According to Reuters, security forces had initially informed the media that “the attackers were armed with a gun, a knife, and a suicide belt, and that they had arrived by sea to launch the onslaught on the beach side hotel. ” But that information has since been amended by the country’s Ministry of Interior, stating no suicide belt was involved.
The news comes just a day after the Islamic State militant group took credit for an attack on Israeli tourists in Cairo in response to a call by the militant group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to target Jews “everywhere”.
Security sources from the Cairo incident identified the targeted tourists as Israeli Arabs and confirmed that no one was injured, claiming the attacks were aimed at security forces despite the claims made by the Islamic State.
The city of Hurghada is a main tourist center and the third largest city in Egypt, with a population estimated at 250,000, located on the Red Sea coast. It was once a small fishing village until Egyptian and foreign investors began to transform the area into the leading coastal resort on the Red Sea in the late 1980s.
The Hurghada travel site claims that the total number of hotels in the resort town has reached 200 as of 2015, including “modest 2 stars accommodations and huge luxury properties on the other side.”
The resort area attracts many tourists, specifically local Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta, and Upper Egypt, and has drawn favorable interest from European tourists due to their holiday packages, notably Italians and Germans.
With that information, it’s to no surprise that the Egyptian affiliate of the Islamic State that is situated in a nearby Sinai peninsula, directly across the Red Sea from where Friday’s hotel attack took place, are now focusing on threatening Egyptian resort towns like Hurghada.
Egypt has been battling Islamist militants for sometime now, dealing with the spillover of terror that ensued after the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi back in 2013.
The terror network has now become a potent threat along the Red Sea coast, driving away much-needed foreign investment and tourism that fuels coastal resort towns like Hurghada.
The same Islamic State affiliate that is based in the Sinai peninsula, and responsible for the recent attacks on neighboring resorts, is the said group to have downed a Russian plane back in October of 2015, which took the lives of 224 individuals.
According to the BBC, authorities have gone to great lengths to secure Egypt’s Red Sea resorts ever since bombers attacked the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in 2005, which sits between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea.
(Photo by Ed Giles/Getty Images).