Israeli tourists targeted in Cairo attack; none hurt
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Israeli tourists targeted in Cairo attack; none hurt

About a dozen assailants shoot fireworks, rubber bullets at Giza hotel, near Egypt’s iconic pyramids; two attackers caught

Egyptian forensic experts inspect a bullet-riddled window at the entrance of the Three Pyramids hotel in Cairo where Israeli tourists were shot at, January 7, 2016. (AFP Photo/ Khaled Desouki)
Egyptian forensic experts inspect a bullet-riddled window at the entrance of the Three Pyramids hotel in Cairo where Israeli tourists were shot at, January 7, 2016. (AFP Photo/ Khaled Desouki)

Egyptian security forces were hunting for over a dozen individuals who opened fire with fireworks and rubber bullets at Israeli Arab tourists at a hotel close to the Giza pyramids, causing some damage to the hotel’s facade and tourist buses parked nearby.

No one was hurt in the attack, an Egyptian security official said.

The tourists, who numbered roughly 40, are Israeli Arabs. One of the group, Bassam Muhammid, told Channel 2 they were a group of 32 from the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, and eight from Jaffa.

Arab MK Ahmad Tibi and others suggested the attack deliberately targeted the group because they were Israelis. Egyptian media identified them as “1948 Arabs,” a euphemism for Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship.

According to initial reports, the shooters were part of a mob of 15 individuals that gathered outside the Three Pyramids Hotel. They were identified by Egyptian media as linked to the Muslim Brotherhood group. They shot fireworks and rubber bullets at the hotel as the Israelis were unpacking their suitcases from the buses, Channel 2 said.

The broken window of a bus used by Arab Israeli tourists following an attack in Cairo on January 7, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)
The broken window of a bus used by Arab Israeli tourists following an attack in Cairo on January 7, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)

The shooters aimed at the tourists as they walked from the entrance of the hotel to the parked buses nearby.

A deputy mayor from Umm al-Fahm said Thursday afternoon that all the tourists were returned to the hotel, and have been staying indoors since the attack. The group was reportedly set to head home later Thursday, via the Taba border crossing.

Two masked motorcyclists among the mob fired rubber bullets, according to Egyptian authorities. One of the motorcyclists was caught. Another attacker was also caught, but it wasn’t immediately clear if he was the other motorcyclist. Security forces launched a manhunt for the rest of the asailants.

The Egyptian government has been battling a jihadist insurgency based in northern Sinai, with attacks multiplying after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, striking the mainland numerous times in recent months.

Some extremists in Sinai have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and claimed the downing of a Russian airliner that killed 224 people there last year.

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