CAIRO (AP) — An assailant stabbed an American man on Thursday while they were standing outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, security officials said.
The area around the U.S. Embassy has been the site of anti-American incidents and violence in the past, but stabbing attacks are uncommon despite political unrest that has roiled Egypt since the 2011 uprising.
Embassy spokesman David Ranz confirmed that a U.S. citizen was stabbed near the embassy, and said he was immediately rushed to the hospital. His condition was not known.
There were differing accounts of the attack.
An Egyptian official said the assailant, who was wielding a knife, attacked the American as he stood outside the embassy building, situated in the central Cairo neighborhood of Garden City.
The state-run daily Al Ahram said the victim, Christopher Stone, told prosecutors at a hospital that the attacker asked him his nationality and when learned he was American, pulled the knife and stabbed him.
Egypt's official news agency MENA reported that security authorities believe a brawl broke out between the American and the attacker over who was next in line.
The embassy was once heavily fortified, but security measures have been relaxed despite street protests during the past two years in nearby Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The attacker was arrested and questioned by police, according to the security official.
A medic at the al-Qasr al-Aini hospital said the American was admitted to the emergency room, but declined to disclose further details.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Crime, including armed robberies, rape and assaults, has surged in Egypt in the past two years since the uprising. The country is awash with weapons smuggled across the border from Libya and elsewhere. Egypt's police force — despised for its rampant rights abuses under Mubarak — nearly collapsed amid the 18-day revolt and has since struggled to recover.