Egypt hotel attack: Hurghada resort blames 'drugged young men' and calls Isis rumours 'nonsense'

Sammie Olovsson, a Swedish victim, told how he was stabbed in the neck four times in a restaurant

Lizzie Dearden
Saturday 09 January 2016 12:36
Cleaners try to clean blood stains near the entrance to Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, January 9, 2016
Cleaners try to clean blood stains near the entrance to Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, January 9, 2016

Managers of the Egyptian hotel where three tourists were stabbed have claimed that “drugged young men” were responsible and called rumours of an Isis-inspired terror attack “nonsense and c**p”.

Two Austrians and a Swede were wounded by two men stormed the beachside Bella Vista resort on Friday in the second assault on hotels in Egypt in two days.

Unconfirmed witness reports claimed the men were bearing an Isis flag as they approached from the beach in Hurghada, reportedly armed with knives, a “gun” and explosives belt, and there was speculation they were attempting to kidnap tourists.

But a statement on the Bella Vista Resort’s official Facebook page claimed to tell the “true story” of the ordeal, which said it was over in four minutes.

“Two drugged young men attacked one of our hotel restaurants with fake gun (plastic) and small knives,” the statement said.

“One of the attackers used his knife trying to stab some of our guests (3 already injured), and then, our security and the hotel police man dealt immediately within seconds with the 2 attackers and shot them down, one was killed by police and the other was injured and captured.”

Renata and Wilhelm Weisslein, both 72, and Sammie Olovsson, 27, were not seriously wounded.

One of the guests left hospital hours after the attack, while the remaining two were expected to be discharged this morning, the hotel said.

These are the injured guests (3) And they are OK nowGod bless themGod bless Egypt

Posted by Bella Vista Resort Hurghada on Saturday, 9 January 2016

“Any other rumours or news more than the above is nonsense and c**p,” its statement continued.

“Most probably is to make propaganda that will affect the tourism in Egypt badly, and that was the main aim.”

The account was in line with statements from the Egyptian Interior Ministry, which reportedly recorded the attack as a criminal offence, rather than terror attack, and said the men carried only knives and a “pellet gun”.

But witnesses claimed the killed attacker was wearing an explosives belt, with retired military officer Mohammed Beram telling the Associated Press it could be seen when the man was stripped by security forces.

Jan-Eric Olovsson, 64, was sitting having dinner with his son Sammie when the attackers stormed in.

“Everything went really fast,” he told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper. “I thought they came from outside. I myself had the gun pointed at me three times, and Sammie was stabbed with the knife.”

A member of the Egyptian security stands guard in front of the entrance to Bella Vista Hotel in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada, Egypt, January 9, 2016.

He described having to watch his son lie in a pool of his own blood until he could safely run outside to get an ambulance.

Sammie, from Gothenburg, wrote a Facebook status reassuring friends that although he had been stabbed four times, he was recovering and expected to leave hospital on Saturday.

“I was lucky that I was able to ward off a deadly stab in the chest,” he wrote. “He tried to stab the knife in my neck a couple of times but it just cut muscle, no arteries or nerves. I’m damn lucky.”

A young Swedish woman who was also in the restaurant at the time, Zainab Feili, described the chaos.

“Everybody just ran...we heard shooting. Everybody was crying. It was awful,” she said.

Barbara Wolf, a German tourist who was also there for dinner, said she saw the killed attacker on the floor “half naked” as his shot accomplice screamed with pain before being detained.

The attack came hours after Isis claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel near the Pyramids of Giza on Thursday, where no one was injured.

The Egyptian interior ministry again sought to reassure the public over the incident, claiming that security guards, rather than tourists, were the intended target and that at least one attacker was in custody.

Egypt’s tourist economy is struggling to recover from unrest triggered by the Arab Spring and military coup in 2013, and travel agencies were already reporting people cancelling trips to Hurghada today.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared war on Islamist militants who have launched suicide bombings and shootings across the country.

Egypt’s most active terrorist group, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, pledged allegiance to Isis in 2014 and started calling itself Wilayat Sinai.

Its jihadists are mainly active in the Sinai Peninsula, where they claimed to have bombed a Russian passenger plane with 224 people on board in October, and have also claimed responsibility for attacks in Cairo, the western desert and Nile delta.

Additional reporting by AP

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