Panic-stricken staff at Cairo Semiramis, an InterContinental Hotel, turned to the hotel’s Twitter page to call for help as masked gunmen stormed the building in the early hours of Tuesday, January 29.
"A group of people forced their way into the property and caused significant damage to the reception and ground floor areas of the hotel. We secured our guests and colleagues during this time and no-one was hurt in the incident," Intercontinental Hotels Group vice president of operations for the UAE, Near East and Africa Ignace Bauwens told Arabian Business's sister publication Hotelier Middle East.
"The situation unfolded rapidly and the hotel used all means at their disposal to ask for the help of police and security forces to ensure the safety and security of our guests, colleagues and the property," Bauwens added.
The first plea was tweeted by the hotel's official account on the social network (@ICSemiramis) at around 02:00 (EET): “We r under attack and several thugs have entered the Semiramis... We need help,” it said.
Shortly after, staff tweeted: “Thugs have entered the IC Semiramis on the Corniche!”
And minutes later: “We are under attack! Several thugs have entered the Semiramis! Send help”.
The repeated calls for help from the hotel, which is located close to Tahrir Square and the US Embassy, continued for the next hour: “Emergency! We are under attack! Several thugs have entered the Semiramis! Send help”.
“Please send help #emergency! We are under attack! Several thugs have entered the Semiramis!”
Following tweets called upon New York Times reporter for Syria, Egypt and the Middle East, Liam Stack, based in Cairo, to raise the alarm.
“@liamstack thugs have broken down barriers, lobby doors, they’re inside Semiramis! Please send help!” the Tweet said.