Three tourists stabbed by suspected militants at Egyptian hotel

One attacker is said to be in custody while the second was killed by security forces

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View of boats moored at Hurghada Marina. Image: Lewis Stickley / EMPICS Entertainment

Three tourists are in a stable condition after being stabbed by suspected militants who targeted a Red Sea hotel.

The assailants reportedly arrived at the Bella Vista beachside hotel, in the popular resort of Hurghada, by boat.

Some reports suggested that they opened fire outside the hotel, but the Egyptian interior ministry said they lashed out with knives after reaching an outdoor restaurant.  

Police opened fire killing the attacker, who security sources told Reuters was wearing a suicide belt.

However, the ministry said the attackers were only armed with knives and an air pistol.

"The motive of the attack is unknown, and it is confirmed that one attacker is in custody and the other was killed by security forces," a ministry statement said.  

The attacker who was killed was identified as 21-year-old Mohammed Hassan Mohammed Mahfouz, a student from the Cairo neighbourhood of Giza.

A member of hotel staff, reportedly speaking anonymously, said he had dragged a female tourist in the lobby while holding a knife to her neck when he was shot by a police officer. 

The ministry said the injured tourists were a Swede and two Austrians.

They have been named as Renata and Wilhelm Weisslein, both 72, and Sammie Olovsson, 27.

All three were taken to hospital with light injuries, where one was treated and discharged, the ministry said.

The assault on the hotel came after the Islamic State claimed an attack on Israeli-Arab tourists near the pyramids in Giza on Thursday was carried out by its fighters.

They said it was in response to a call by the group's leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, to target Jews "everywhere".

No one was hurt as birdshot and flares were fired outside the hotel where the tourists were staying.

A Russian passenger plane crashed in Sinai on 31 October, killing all 224 people on board.

Most were tourists returning home from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh.

Tourism is a cornerstone of the Egyptian economy but has been badly hit by years of political turmoil.