Egypt po­lice probe mo­tives of Red Sea beach at­tacker

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Po­lice yes­ter­day ques­tioned the sus­pected ji­hadist who stabbed to death two Ger­man women and wounded four oth­ers at a Red Sea beach re­sort, adding to the woes of Egypt’s hob­bled tourism in­dus­try. Ju­di­cial sources said the man who had swum ashore from a pub­lic beach in Hurghada to carry out Fri­day’s at­tack con­fessed to shar­ing the ide­ol­ogy of the Is­lamic State ji­hadist group, al­though there was no IS claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The sources said the sus­pect, a 28-year-old from Kafr Al-Sheikh prov­ince in the Nile Delta, north of Cairo, has been trans­ferred to the cap­i­tal for ques­tion­ing. At the same time, the pros­e­cu­tion said in a state­ment that it had not yet con­firmed the as­sailant’s mo­tives and urged the me­dia “to stop re­sort­ing to spec­u­la­tion or get­ting ahead of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion”. The streets of Hurghada were be­ing heav­ily pa­trolled and se­cu­rity was stepped up out­side ho­tels yes­ter­day.

“I was sit­ting down in my shop when we heard peo­ple shout­ing. We ran out­side and heard that some­one had swum to the next door ho­tel and was at­tack­ing for­eign­ers,” said Rafic Rushdi, the owner of a ho­tel shop. “Af­ter killing two women, he ran to­wards our ho­tel. He was shout­ing that he was not af­ter Egyp­tians, and some Egyp­tians in­ter­vened to stop him.”

Af­ter ini­tial con­fu­sion over the na­tion­al­ity of the women killed, Ber­lin yes­ter­day said they were both Ger­man na­tion­als, rather than Ukraini­ans as ear­lier re­ported. “I am very up­set by this cow­ardly crime, my con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims,” Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Sig­mar Gabriel said. Among the four oth­ers wounded were two Ar­me­nian women and a woman from the Czech Repub­lic, ac­cord­ing to author­i­ties in those coun­tries.

It was not the first at­tack in Hurghada. In Jan 2016, three tourists were wounded in a stab­bing as­sault in the re­sort by two as­sailants with ap­par­ent IS sym­pa­thies. In Tu­nisia, IS claimed a beach at­tack in June 2015 when a stu­dent armed with a Kalash­nikov as­sault ri­fle and grenades went on a ram­page near the Mediter­ranean re­sort of Sousse killing 38 hol­i­day­mak­ers, 30 of them Bri­tons, be­fore be­ing shot dead by po­lice.

Hurghada is one of Egypt’s most pop­u­lar beach re­sorts, es­pe­cially with Ukraini­ans and other Euro­pean tourists. Egyp­tian author­i­ties say they have boosted se­cu­rity at the coun­try’s tourist sites. The in­dus­try pro­vides the Arab world’s most pop­u­lous coun­try with much-needed rev­enues. An IS bomb­ing of a Rus­sian air­liner car­ry­ing hol­i­day­mak­ers from a re­sort in the south of the Si­nai Penin­sula in 2015 killed all 224 peo­ple on board and dec­i­mated the coun­try’s tourism sec­tor. Rus­sia sus­pended all flights to Egypt in re­sponse and has yet to re­sume them. IS has been wag­ing a deadly in­sur­gency con­cen­trated in the north of the Si­nai Penin­sula that has killed hun­dreds of po­lice­men and sol­diers.

Po­lice, Copts also tar­geted

It has also killed dozens of Cop­tic Chris­tians in church bomb­ings and shoot­ings since De­cem­ber, and pledged fur­ther at­tacks. Yes­ter­day, a Mus­lim man stabbed a se­cu­rity guard at a church in the Mediter­ranean city of Alexan­dria af­ter the guard asked to check his bag. The at­tacker was quickly sub­dued and is be­ing ques­tioned, a po­lice of­fi­cial told AFP. The in­ci­dent came days af­ter lead­ers of the Chris­tian mi­nor­ity sus­pended some ser­vices such as con­fer­ences and re­li­gious trips for three weeks over se­cu­rity con­cerns.

On Fri­day, un­known as­sailants shot dead five po­lice­men just south of Cairo, in the lat­est of a se­ries of at­tacks tar­get­ing Egypt’s se­cu­rity forces. The killings came as po­lice and the army said they were clos­ing in on mil­i­tants and ji­hadists fol­low­ing a spate of deadly at­tacks in the Nile Val­ley and the Si­nai. Egypt has strug­gled to quell IS mil­i­tants based in the Si­nai and smaller mil­i­tant groups in the main­land since the mil­i­tary over­threw Is­lamist pres­i­dent Mo­hamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his sup­port­ers. — AFP


HURGHADA: A pic­ture taken yes­ter­day shows a gen­eral view of the Sunny Days El­pala­cio beach in this Egyp­tian Red Sea re­sort city, where an Egyp­tian stabbed to death two Ger­man tourists and in­jured four oth­ers the day be­fore.

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