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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Two German tourists killed in Hurghada knife attack, five policemen killed in checkpoint shooting

An Egyptian man attacked six tourists with a kitchen knife at two Hurghada resorts on Friday, killing two German women and injuring four others, Reuters reports. The attacker first killed the two Germans and injured two others at the Zahabia hotel, where a similar attack took place last year, before swimming to the Sunny Days El Palacio resort, where he wounded two more, the newswire reports. The German Foreign Ministry issued a statement confirming that the two tourists who were killed were German women and condemned the attack as “a criminal act of the highest degree.” The nationalities of the other victims remain unclear, with one security official telling the newswire that there were two Czechs and two Armenians, and another claiming a Russian was among those injured.

An Interior Ministry statement on Friday said the assailant had trespassed onto the resort’s property from a neighboring public beach, but sources close to the investigation tell Reuters that he bought a EGP 100 ticket to enter Zahabia’s beach. The attacker, identified as 29-year-old Abdel Rahman Shaaban, reportedly held a conversation with the two German women in fluent German before attacking them with the knife, according to the Associated Press. Shaaban reportedly told security guards at the resort that he was not looking to attack any Egyptians. There have been no claims of responsibility for the attack, “but it appeared to have been inspired by recent calls made by the local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group on its followers to attack Egypt’s minority Christians and foreign tourists.” Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek ordered State Security to investigate the incident, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

The Canadian government updated its a travel warning on Friday, advising its citizens to refrain from nonessential travel to Egypt and to “exercise a high degree of caution” when traveling to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh.

The knife attack came as three gunmen on a motorbike opened fire at a police checkpoint in Badrasheen, killing five members of the police force on Friday, according to an Interior Ministry statement. The assailants fled when another member of the police service who was nearby opened fire on the attackers. Police forces arrested yesterday four alleged terrorists suspected of involvement in the shooting, Al Shorouk reports.

The two attacks underscore terrorists’ reduced abilities to carry out large-scale attacks in Egypt, as terror attacks against the police force target checkpoints rather than police stations, the State Information Service said in a statement (pdf). Attacks against tourists have also been limited over the past four years, the statement added.

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