Egyptian Chronicles: The so-many versions of What happened in Hurghada's Belle Vista Hotel Friday evening

Friday, January 8, 2016

The so-many versions of What happened in Hurghada's Belle Vista Hotel Friday evening

From few hours ago, the city of Hurghada in Red Sea governorate was the center of attention of the world with shocking news about an attack in a hotel there Friday evening.
According to the early information spread in Egyptian media from news websites and TV channels, unknown militants stormed "Belle Vista" hotel attacking the tourists at the Hotel Lobby there and that the security forces were handling the situation there.

Outside the Belle Vista Hotel
Hurghada "Reuters"
Within few minutes, news reports based on anonymous security sources started to show up in popular news websites like Youm 7 and Al-Masry Al-Youm claiming that those militants were carrying the Daesh/ISIS flag and that one of them was wearing an explosive belt.

The sources began to call those militants as terrorists.
Sooner, we read that two tourists were injured and  at least, two terrorists were killed on the spot.
Then, even more alleged details began to spread online like how those alleged terrorists came from Sinai through the Red Sea and more ignorance revealed in itself in a famous Arabic news channel that do not know that Hurghada is not located in Sinai.

The reports went viral internationally online.
We are still recovering from the Russian airliner crash and yesterday we had another bizarre incident involving tourists which Daesh claimed its responsibility despite it failed.
As soon as I read the news alert about the attack in Hurghada, I thought about Tunisia and the terrorist attack in its resort city.
I wondered if it was some sort of lone wolves style attack especially with all the reports in the media.
At 9:45 PM Cairo Local time, Egypt's ministry of interior issued its first statement about the attack and it had another version of the story.

صرح مسئول مركز الإعلام الأمنى بوزارة الداخلية أنه مساء اليوم الجمعة 8 الجارى قام مجهولين بالتسلل والدخول إلى فندق ( بيلا...
Posted by ‎الصفحة الرسمية لوزارة الداخلية‎ on Friday, January 8, 2016
The media center spokesperson stated that on 8 January Friday even , unidentified people sneaked and entered the "Bella Vista" Hotel in Hurghada through the restaurant on the street and threatened the hotel guests using knives.
The security forces assigned to secure the Hotel dealt with them. In reaction , the two men tried to escape but in their attempt , one of them was killed and he is called : Mohamed Hassan Mahmoud Mahfouz , born in 1994 and lived in Giza  while the other suspect was injured badly. They were carrying a sound gun "Starting gun" and knives.
Three tourists "2 Austrians and 1 Swede" were injured during the attempt of the preparators. The injured were transferred to the hospital to recieve medical treatment.
The Prosecution started its investigation. 

Now interestingly the official statement of the Egyptian ministry of interior did not mention or include the following words in Arabic "Terrorism", "Terrorists", "Daesh", "ISIS","Sea" or "Explosive belt".
The MOI was speaking about two suspects only.
What is even stranger are the statements of the minister of tourism Hisham Zazaou at 9.58 PM.
In statements to Youm 7 news website, the minister said that according to the information he received on the phone from the Red Sea governor, the attack was actually an attempted robbery by two unidentified suspects.
All the news reports in Egypt speaking about the ISIS Flag and the explosive ballet are based on quotes by anonymous security sources.
At the same time online, alleged photos showing the ISIS flag and allegedly  explosives vest as 3 men "2 dead and one alive" in the alleged crime scene went viral online.
They were not released by the interior ministry but they found their way online till they landed to the Daily Mail Front Page for hours.
Then the MOI official spokesperson Abu Bakr Abdel Karim spoke on Al-Mehwar TV channel on air declaring that that no explosive vests nor belts were found in the scene !!!!!!!!!!!!!
He also added that the investigations were still undergoing to determine if it was a criminal or terrorist act.
On Twitter, people began to share the tweets of a young man who knows somebody in Hurghada near the Hotel who told him that it was a terrorist attack but rather a fight between unfortunate youth that used firearms outside the hotel and the security thought that they were terrorists and things erupted !!
Strangely, that version of the story is confirmed by a tourist who is in Hurghada who spoke about a fight between three young men.

Anybody hearing on the TV that an attack has taken place where I am in Egypt, be assured I am fine. It was 3 men arguing...
Posted by Peter Kwapisz on Friday, January 8, 2016

Updated @2:41 PM CLT  9/1/2016 

And We have got also the statement from Belle Vista Hotel itself saying the attackers were two drugged men.

The true story of what happened in Bella Vista Resort HurghadaThe whole situation didn’t take more than 4 minutes...
Posted by Bella Vista Resort Hurghada on Saturday, January 9, 2016

Updated @ 07:42 PM CLT 9/1/2016

I found another version of the story from a lady who works in tourism.

Hurghada: The inside story is a crazy story !! A man who wanted money from the hotel owner told him he will spoil his...
Posted by Mayar Abdel Aziz on Saturday, January 9, 2016

So technically, we got 4 versions of the story "a terrorist attack", "Just an attack that is being investigated according to MOI officially",  "Robbery according to the minister of tourism and Red Sea governor" and a "fight between youth that turned ugly according to eye-witnesses".
Seriously, I do not know what to believe.
Shockingly, Youm 7 published a video showing the interrogation of the suspected injured attacker while he was in semi-coma and asked about his name.
I am quite surprised to find that video is published online and has gone viral.
Aside it is unacceptable to publish such interrogation in that way even for an alleged suspected terrorist who still got rights according to the laws whether locally or internationally, I do not know if it is legal to publish interrogations publicly in the media like that when the General prosecution has not finished its investigation.
Now whether it is a terrorist attack or a robbery or just a fight that gone mad and sadly, there is one fact: It is another blow to the tourism industry in Egypt.


  1. how about this one? “I was in my room when I heard someone shouting. I went out on the balcony and could see a man wave a black flag with white writings on it. He was yelling loudly,” Jon Torp told Norway’s VG newspaper.

    1. This is the first testimony of its kind aside of anonymous sources. The Egyptian ministry of interior and the Hotel denied that.
      Already I am adding right now another version of the story of what happened in that evening !!!!


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