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Sun 10 Jan 2016 04:28 PM

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Cairo, Red Sea attacks deal new blows to Egypt

Three tourists wounded in knife attack on Friday

Cairo, Red Sea attacks deal new blows to Egypt
(Getty Images)

Armed men shot
dead a police officer and a soldier in their car on the outskirts of Cairo on
Saturday, Egypt's state news agency said, a day after suspected militants armed
with knives wounded three European tourists in a Red Sea resort.

ISIL claimed
responsibility for the Cairo attack in a statement posted on messaging service
Telegram.

Tourism
Minister Hisham Zaazou said the government would announce additional security
measures to safeguard tourists after Friday's attack, which wounded two
Austrians and a Swede in the resort of Hurghada.

Tourism is
critical to the Egyptian economy as a source of hard currency, but has been
ravaged by years of political turmoil since the revolution that ousted veteran
president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

"The
welfare of the tourists visiting Egypt is of the greatest importance to us and
will continue to be so. No stone will be left unturned to ensure their
security," Zaazou said.

"Over the
coming days we will announce even greater security measures to safeguard all
tourists visiting Egypt."

Egypt is
fighting a wave of Islamist militancy against security forces, which started in
the remote regions of the Sinai but is increasingly spreading to the capital
and to Red Sea beach targets that were previously considered safe.

Two armed
assailants were involved in the attack at the beachside Bella Vista hotel in
Hurghada. Security forces shot and killed at least one of the attackers,
officials said.

The Interior
Ministry said one of the attackers was a student from the Cairo suburb of Giza.

Security
sources said the attackers had arrived by sea and also carried a gun and a
suicide belt. Officials said officers had tightened checks across the area and
shut off roads.

Swedish
survivor Sam Eric Olovsson told reporters from his hospital bed: "He
sliced me here in the neck and then he shoved his knife here and I go to the
ground. At that point, I'm saying to my father I think I will bleed to death
right now."

No group
immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

ISIL claimed
responsibility for the downing of a Russian passenger plane in October, killing
all 224 people on board, most of them tourists returning home from the Red Sea
resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, across the water from Hurghada.

The group said
on Friday it had carried out an attack on Israeli tourists in Cairo a day
earlier, in response to a call by its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to target
Jews "everywhere".

Security
sources said the tourists were Israeli Arabs, and that there were no
casualties.

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