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Three tourists injured in attack at Egyptian Red Sea resort

Three tourists injured in attack at Egyptian Red Sea resort
Egyptian security services gather outside the Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada after an attack Jan. 8. (European Pressphoto Agency)

In another blow to Egypt's ailing tourism industry, two men armed with knives attacked foreign tourists at a hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada on Friday, injuring three of them, authorities said.

The men sneaked into a restaurant belonging to the Bella Vista hotel and started randomly stabbing tourists, Egypt's Interior Ministry said in a statement.

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Police opened fire on the assailants, killing one and seriously injuring the other, the Health Ministry said. The ministry identified the stabbing victims as two Swedes and an Austrian, but the Interior Ministry said they were two Austrians and a Swede.

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Tourism is an important source of jobs and foreign currency revenue in Egypt. But the sector has been struggling because of recurrent instability in the country since the 2011 uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Attacks by Islamist militants have intensified since the ouster of Mubarak’s elected successor, Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, in a military takeover in 2013.

Friday's attack came just hours after the local Islamic State affiliate claimed responsibility for a shooting attack on a tourist bus outside a hotel near Egypt's famous Giza pyramids the previous day. No casualties were reported in Thursday's attack.

The extremist group also claimed responsibility for a plane crash in the Sinai Peninsula that killed 224 people in October, saying a security breach at Sharm el Sheik airport enabled it to plant a bomb on the Russian passenger jet.

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Russia's Federal Security Service, the main successor agency to the Soviet KGB, announced that an improvised bomb had caused the crash. But Egyptian authorities said there was no evidence pointing to terrorism.

The crash lead Britain and other European countries to suspend flights to Sharm el Sheik. Russia barred all flights to Egypt.

Hurghada, however, has continued to attract some tourists.

The German Foreign Ministry advised its citizens Friday to avoid leaving their hotels in the city, which is located about 55 miles southwest of Sharm el Sheik.

Hassan is a special correspondent.

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