By Ahmed Mohamed Hassan
CAIRO, Jan 9 – Suspected militants armed with knives wounded two Austrian tourists and a Swede at a hotel in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada on Friday evening, the interior ministry said.
Security forces shot and killed at least one of the attackers after they stormed the beachside Bella Vista hotel, officials said, though there was no immediate information on the other, or on the condition of the tourists.
Security sources said the attackers had arrived by sea and also carried a gun and a suicide belt. Officials said officers had tightened checks across the area and shut off roads.
Norwegian Jon Torp told Norwary’s VG newspaper that he heard at least 24 shots as the attackers moved around the hotel.
“I was in my room when I heard someone shouting. I went out on the balcony and could see a man wave a black flag with white writings on it. He was yelling loudly,” Torp told VG.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
But Egypt is fighting a wave of Islamist militancy and Daesh, which has a black and white flag, claimed responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane in October, killing all 224 people on board, most of them tourists returning home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, across the water from Hurghada.
Security sources had earlier said two tourists had been injured, one from Germany and one from Denmark.
But the Swedish Foreign Ministry confirmed that one Swede was injured and Expressen newspaper quoted the victim’s father as saying he was “fine” in hospital.
Armed men shot dead a police officer and a soldier on Saturday while they were in their car in the Giza area, on the outskirts of Cairo, the state news agency said.
Daesh said on Friday it had carried out an attack on Israeli tourists in Cairo on Thursday, in response to a call by the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to target Jews “everywhere”.
Security sources said those tourists were Israeli Arabs.
Tourism is critical to the Egyptian economy as a source of hard currency, but has been ravaged by years of political turmoil since the revolution that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.