Attacker kills 2 in knife attack at beach resort in Cairo

The Hurghada area is also known as a popular tourist attraction featuring resorts, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

Russian Federation suspended all flights to Egypt in response and has yet to resume them.

The plane was blown up shortly after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt's biggest Red Sea Resort; 224 people were killed.

"A police officer who was near the site of the attack exchanged fire with the assailants forcing them to flee", the ministry statement said. The nationalities of the tourists were not announced by the Ministry of Interior.

Witnesses said attackers blasted the vehicle with automatic rifles then took equipment and threw petrol bombs inside the auto before fleeing.

The ministry said a preliminary investigation showed the man appeared to have swum from a nearby public beach to access the holiday resort.

Egypt has struggled to quell IS jihadists based in the Sinai and smaller militant groups in the mainland since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and cracked down on his supporters.

The self-styled Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for major attacks.

The German Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday saying the country is "dismayed and furious" by the stabbing of the two female tourists and that the assailant deliberately targeted foreign nationals.

The women were stabbed in the face, neck and feet, the security official said. He said police arrived to the crime scene in "just a few minutes". Egypt has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombers struck two churches north of Cairo, killing scores of Christians.

Last week, Islamic militants killed 23 army personnel in a remote checkpoint in northeastern Sinai Peninsula.

Vanessa Coleman