Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who has survived a series of assassination attempts, brushed off an attack today that left him grazed and the assailant dead.
The afternoon assault came as hundreds of people chanting Mubarak's name and carrying his photo thronged the streets of Port Said--located about 100 miles northeast of Cairo at the northern end of the Suez Canal--to welcome the presidential motorcade.
Mubarak, riding in a black luxury car, was visiting the northern city to tour industrial projects and deliver a speech ahead of a presidential referendum.
"While the president was waving . . . through the car's window, a person approached the motorcade holding a sharp tool and inflicted a light wound," said a statement from the president's office. It indicated Mubarak was wounded on the arm.
Security guards killed the assailant, the statement said. It did not explain how the assailant was killed, but gunfire was heard immediately after the man attacked Mubarak.
The attacker was identified in a police statement as Said Hassan Suleiman, 40, a clothing vendor who "has been known for impulsive behavior and recklessness." The statement said he had "no political affiliations."
Suleiman's neighbors, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they believed he was an Islamic fundamentalist. They said he was arrested nearly two months ago for suspicion of belonging to a militant group but was released three days later. He always carried a pocket knife, they added.
Mubarak's wound was treated with a disinfectant. Appearing composed, he spoke as scheduled about an hour after the attack and made no mention of it. He had changed from a brown to a dark blue suit.
Sources said Mubarak left to spend the night at the coastal resort of Sharm el Sheik, where a day before he had presided over the signing of a new Israeli-Palestinian peace accord. He is scheduled to travel to Libya Tuesday for a summit of African leaders.
Egyptian television showed videotape of the cheering crowd but cut away as shots rang out. It did not show the attack. The next pictures showed Mubarak at the meeting hall, where supporters clapped and chanted: "Mubarak is the people's beloved! We salute you, Mubarak!"