Two Ukrainian women were killed and four other tourists wounded after being stabbed by an attacker on an Egyptian beach in the resort of Hurghada on the Red Sea coast.
Police say the motive for the attack against the tourists – who also included visitors from Serbia and Poland – is still under investigation and that the assailant has been arrested.
They said he swam to the private hotel beach from a neighbouring public beach.
The attack is a potential setback to Egypt’s tourism industry which has only recently started to recover after a disastrous drop in visitor numbers following an attack on a Russian airliner carrying tourists in 2015.
Isis claimed it placed the bomb aboard the plane which blew up in the sky shortly after taking off from the Sinai beach resort of Sharm al Sheikh. The explosion aboard the Metrojet plane killed all 224 passengers and crew. Since then Moscow has banned all flights from and to Egyptian airports. British flights to Sharm al Sheikh are still suspended.
Tourism is a crucial driver for the Egyptian economy but the industry has been ailing since 2011 as a result of political upheavals following the 2011 revolution which toppled Hosni Mubarak as president.
The Metrojet attack delivered a devastating blow to the industry which saw visitor numbers halve in 2016. Tourism officials have been hopeful that a fifty per cent increase in visitor numbers in the first quarter of 2017 meant a recovery was finally underway.
But Egypt has been fighting a local Isis affiliate in the northeastern corner of the Sinai peninsula on the border with Gaza which has killed more than thousand policemen and soldiers.
The group also targets the Coptic Christian community and has already killed more than a hundred Christians in suicide attacks on churches and in an ambush on a bus carrying Christians travelling to a desert monastery. It has called on its supporters to kill Christians and foreign tourists wherever they found them.
On Friday, the authorities also announced that gunmen travelling on a motorcycle killed five policemen at a checkpoint on a road thirty kilometers south of Cairo.
Violence by militant Islamist groups has increased in the country since 2013 after a popularly-backed coup which ousted an elected Islamist president from the Muslim Brotherhood group. The authorities have conducted a fierce crackdown against the Brotherhood and its supporters which has resulted in the killing of more than a thousand according to human rights groups and the imprisonment of thousands of leaders and members.