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American stabbed outside US Embassy in Cairo

An assailant stabbed an American man Thursday while they were standing outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, security officials said.

The area around the 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 a hospital. His condition was not known.

There were differing accounts of the attack.

An Egyptian security official said the assailant, who was wielding a knife, attacked the American as he stood outside the embassy building in the central Cairo neighborhood of Garden City.

The state-run daily al-Ahram said the victim, Christopher Stone, told prosecutors at the hospital that the attacker asked him his nationality and, on learning that he was American, pulled out the knife and stabbed him.

Egypt’s official Middle Eastern News Agency reported that security authorities believe a brawl broke out between the American and the attacker over who was next in line.

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 the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The embassy was once heavily fortified, but security measures have been relaxed despite street protests in the past two years in nearby Tahrir Square, the focal point of the uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

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