HURGHADA, Egypt (AP) — Germany on Saturday confirmed that two German tourists were killed in a knife attack at a hotel in the popular Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada. The assailant, Egypt said, was a 28-year-old university graduate from the Nile Delta.
The German Foreign Ministry said it now has the "sad certainty" that two German female tourists died in Friday's attack. It didn't give any other information on the victims.
In a statement, it said: "According to everything that we know, this act was aimed at foreign tourists — a particularly perfidious and criminal act that leaves us sad, dismayed and angry."
Egyptian authorities said the assailant sneaked into the hotel by swimming from a nearby beach. He was arrested after he wounded another four foreign tourists at a next-door hotel. On Saturday, security officials identified the attacker by only his first name, Abdel-Rahman, and said he is a business graduate who hails from the Nile Delta province of Kafr el-Sheikh, north of Cairo.
The officials said he has been transferred to Cairo for questioning while a total of 15 hotel workers who witnessed the attack were being interviewed by police in Hurghada.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The attack on the tourists took place just hours after five policemen were killed in a shooting near some of Egypt's most famous pyramids in the greater Cairo area. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which bore the hallmarks of a militant group known as Hasm that has been behind similar attacks in recent months.
Authorities say Hasm is a splinter faction from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group that was outlawed and declared a terrorist organization several months after the military in July 2013 ousted Mohammed Morsi, a senior leader of the Brotherhood who was elected president in 2012.
Friday's attacks are likely to further impact Egypt's tourism industry — a backbone of the country's economy that employs millions of people but which has been decimated by the political turmoil and fragile security roiling the country since the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
The attacker in Hurghada, one of Egypt's most popular beach resorts and diving centers, stabbed the tourists in the face, neck and feet, according to security officials. No one claimed responsibility for the attack, but it appeared to have been inspired by recent calls by the local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State group to attack Egypt's minority Christians and foreign tourists.
On Saturday, tight security was in place at Hurghada, with additional checkpoints at the city's entry and exit points and reinforced security at tourist sites, including where the attack took place.
Egypt has been rocked by deadly suicide bombings, drive-by shootings and other attacks since Morsi's ouster four years ago. The violence has been concentrated in the northern Sinai Peninsula, but attacks have spread to the mainland, including the capital.
The last time tourists were attacked in Hurghada was in January 2016, when two Austrians and a Swede were stabbed by two suspected militants, also at a hotel. They were only lightly wounded. Security forces shot the attackers, killing one and wounding the other before arresting him.
Separately, authorities on Saturday said four suspected militants were killed in a shootout with the police in the desert near the Suez Canal city of Ismailia east of Cairo. The shootout was not related to Friday's attacks at Hurghada and Cairo.
Associated Press writer Geir Moulson contributed to this report from Berlin.