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Egypt's Tourism Minister vows more security measures to protect tourists

Jan 09, 2016

CAIRO, Egypt - 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.

Islamic State 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.

Egypt's Tourism Minister vows more security measures to protect tourists
Egypt's Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou

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