Berlin 'dismayed and furious' over the murders described as deliberate attack on foreign tourists
German officials said on Saturday they had been left "dismayed and furious" by the stabbing of two German women at an Egyptian beach resort, calling it a deliberate attack on foreign tourists.
An Egyptian man stabbed the two German tourists to death and wounded four others on Friday at a popular seaside vacation spot on the Red Sea, officials and witnesses said.
"We now have the sad certainty that two German women were killed in the attack in Hurghada," a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.
An attacker swam from a nearby public beach to access the Zahabia Hotel, where he killed the two Germans and wounded two others before attacking two more people at the adjacent Sunny Days El Palacio resort in Hurghada, security sources said. (AFP/Getty Images)
"According to what we know, the act was a deliberate attack on foreign tourists — a particularly devious and criminal act that leaves us sad, dismayed and furious," she added.
The attacker swam from a nearby public beach to access the Zahabia Hotel, where he killed the two Germans and wounded two others before attacking two more people at the adjacent Sunny Days El Palacio resort in Hurghada, officials and security sources said.
"He had a knife with him and stabbed each of them three times in the chest. They died on the beach," the security manager at El Palacio hotel, Saud Abdelaziz, told Reuters.
Abdelaziz said two of the injured people are Czech and two are Armenian. They were being treated a local hospital. The Czech Foreign Ministry tweeted that one Czech woman sustained a minor leg injury.
The Interior Ministry said the attacker was arrested, but the motive was still under investigation.
The Zahabia and El Palacio hotels in Hurghada, one of Egypt's most popular holiday resorts, some 400 kilometres south of the capital Cairo, each has a private beach.
Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, where they mainly target security forces, but militants have previously attacked tourism targets and have also hit Coptic Christians and churches.
In January 2016, two assailants armed with a gun, a knife and a suicide belt landed on the beach of a hotel in Hurghada, wounding two foreign tourists.
Friday's attack came the same day that five policemen were killed by gunmen on a motorbike who ambushed their car just south of Cairo.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of a militant group known as Hasm that has been behind similar attacks in recent months.
Authorities say Hasm is a splinter faction from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that was outlawed and declared a terrorist organization several months after the military in July 2013 ousted Mohammed Morsi, a senior leader of the Brotherhood who was elected president in 2012.
Friday's attacks are likely to further impact Egypt's tourism industry — a backbone of the country's economy that employs millions of people but which has been decimated by the political turmoil and fragile security roiling the country since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
The attacker in Hurghada, one of Egypt's most popular beach resorts and diving centres, stabbed the tourists in the face, neck and feet, according to security officials. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it appeared to have been inspired by recent calls by the local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group to attack Egypt's minority Christians and foreign tourists.
On Saturday, tight security was in place at the site of the Hurghada attack.
Egypt has been rocked by deadly suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other attacks since Morsi's ouster four years ago. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but attacks have spread to the mainland, including the capital.
The last time tourists were attacked in Hurghada was in January 2016, when two Austrians and a Swede were stabbed by two suspected militants, also at a hotel. They were only lightly wounded. Security forces shot the attackers, killing one and wounding the other before arresting him.