HURGHADA: Two Austrians and a Swede who were stabbed in an attack on a hotel in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Hurghada were only lightly wounded and in stable condition on Saturday, an Egyptian hospital official said.
The official, who requested anonymity in line with regulations, identified the victims as Renata and Wilhelm Weisslein, both 72, and Sammie Olovsson, 27. The official said they suffered shallow wounds.
Two suspected militants attacked the three at a hotel in Hurghada late Friday. Security forces shot both attackers, killing one and wounding the other before arresting him.
It was the second hotel attack in as many days. An Islamic State affiliate claimed an attack Thursday on a hotel in Cairo near the Pyramids that did not wound anyone. Egypt has been battling an insurgency based in the northern Sinai Peninsula that grew following the 2013 military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The Interior Ministry said that in the Hurghada attack, two men armed with knives and pellet guns attacked the tourists in the restaurant at the front of the seaside, four-star Bella Vista Hotel.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the attack in Hurghada.
Jan-Eric Olovsson, the 64-year-old father of the Swedish victim, told the Swedish Expressen newspaper that they were having dinner in the restaurant when the attackers stormed in.
“Everything went really fast. We sat there and ate and then they showed up,” he said. “I thought they came from outside. I myself had the gun pointed at me three times, and Sammie was stabbed with the knife.”
He said another woman who was eating in the restaurant was also wounded.
“The first thing I noticed is a guy coming in and trying to stab me here,” Sammie said, pointing at his heart in his hospital room. “They don’t say give me your wallet. They don’t say give me your money,” the Swede recalled, before concluding that his attackers were simply “crazy guys.”
“It can happen anytime anywhere. It is just a bad coincidence I was there,” he added, echoing Egypt’s Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou.
“The good part that I can mention to you today or now is that these attackers, these agitators, are not a part of an organization,” Zaazou told reporters in English on his way into the hospital. “It is an individually motivated agitation.”
Shortly after the attack, Sammie updated his Facebook profile, saying he was “lucky” to have deflected the knife when the attacker tried to stab him in the chest. He said the knife cut some muscles in his neck but no arteries or nerves, and that he would be able to leave the hospital Saturday.
The other victims were also stable enough to be discharged on Saturday, Nile Hospital Chairman Reda el-Naggar told The Associated Press.
Egypt has been struggling to revive its tourism industry after years of unrest stemming from the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The apparent bombing of a Russian passenger plane over Sinai last year, claimed by the IS group, led to widespread flight cancellations, dealing a major blow to the industry, which is one of the country’s main earners.
The Olovssons’ trip was organized by one of Sweden’s largest tour operators, Apollo. The company’s head Peter Browall said guests were given the option of relocating after the attack.
“Some have decided to do so. Not all have. This is done based on individual dialogues we have with them,” he told the Associated Press.
Hurghada is “a small destination for Apollo Sweden,” Browall said. He wasn’t able to provide any figures, but said interest in Egypt had dropped following recent attacks.
Police carrying walkie-talkies stood outside the hotel on Saturday as journalists set up cameras on the sidewalk.
Zainab Feili, a young Swede who survived Friday’s ordeal unharmed, described a scene of chaos. “Everybody just ran… We hear shoot (shots). Everybody cries. It was awful,” she said.
“We saw a dead man on the floor. He was half naked… The other man next to him screamed of pains but nobody did anything. We have been so shocked,” said German tourist Barbara Wolf, who was dining in the restaurant at the time of the assault.
“They took their clothes off to make sure they were not hiding explosive belts underneath them,” said Mohammed Beram, a retired military officer living nearby, who rushed to the scene to offer help. He said the attacker who was killed was wearing an explosive vest.
Meanwhile in Cairo’s twin city of Giza, a local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two policemen.
Earlier Saturday, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said gunmen killed two policemen while they were on their way to work. However, the IS group’s claim suggested it killed more than two officers, but did not give an exact number.
The Associated Press could not independently verify the online claim, but it bore the design and logo of the group’s previous statements. It was circulated by the group’s sympathizers on social media.