The Egyptian man who stabbed two German women to death at a popular Red Sea resort first sat and spoke to them in fluent German before producing a large kitchen knife and attacking them, security officials said Saturday.
Leaving them for dead, 29-year-old Abdel-Rahman Shaaban fled the scene, chased by hotel workers and security guards. He rushed into the hotel next door where he attacked and wounded four female tourists who, according to local media reports, included two Armenians, one from Ukraine and another from the Czech Republic.
“Stay back, I am not after Egyptians,” Shaaban shouted in Arabic at his pursuers, according to the officials. They eventually caught up with him, disarmed and pinned him down and later handed him over to the police. Shaaban stabbed the women in the face, neck and feet, said the officials.
The officials said Abdel-Rahman hails from the Nile Delta province of Kafr al-Sheikh, where he attended the business school of the local branch of Al-Azhar University — the world’s foremost seat of learning of Sunni Islam and the target of mounting criticism in recent months over its alleged radical teachings and doctrinal rigidity.
Investigators were still trying to determine how Shaaban came to be in Hurghada, one of Egypt’s main Red Sea resorts, popular for its year-round sunny weather and diving.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
A statement by the national security prosecution’s office, which is questioning Shaaban in Cairo, said Saturday that his motives and ideological convictions remained unclear. “The characterization of the action committed by the culprit, whether it is an individual act, criminal or terrorist, is not clear to the prosecution at this time,” said the statement.
Police are meanwhile interviewing 15 hotel workers to piece together what happened.
Germany on Saturday gave the first official confirmation that the two tourists killed by Shaaban were German nationals, but gave no other information. Local German media reports, however, said the two were residing in Hurghada, not tourists.
In a statement, the German Foreign Ministry 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.”