American stabbed in Cairo unfazed by attack

An American science teacher stabbed by an attacker in a famous Cairo bazaar in front of his heavily pregnant wife said Sunday he thought the incident was random and would return to the historic market when his parents came to visit.Clay Huggins, a 31-year-old native of Houston, Texas, had his face cut by a knife-wielding Egyptian on Friday in the Khan el-Khalili bazaar, where just a week earlier a crude homemade bomb killed a teenage French tourist.

“My parents are coming in April, I will probably take them there,” Huggins told The Associated Press by telephone from his home in Egypt’s port city of Alexandria, north of Cairo. “I feel it’s a very random, one time event. I don’t feel it’s representative of Egypt at all.”

Abdel-Rahman Taher, 46, has been charged with attempted murder, carrying a weapon without a license and injuring two other Egyptians, said police, according to the state news agency. He has been sent to the state mental hospital for 15 days to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

Taher was hospitalized in 2000 for another attack on tourists and only released a few months ago when his condition was deemed to have improved, added the report.

He told police after he was arrested Friday that he hated foreigners because of Israel’s recent offensive against the Gaza Strip.

“When he first ran at me, I just assumed he was trying to steal my bags or something,” said Huggins, recalling the moment that came after a long shopping trip with his 8-month pregnant wife and a friend. “It wasn’t until he was a couple of feet away that he pulled the knife out.”

The attacker’s first swipe with a foot-long (30 centimeter) kitchen knife sliced Huggins’ face, leaving a gash that would require five stitches. The teacher fended him off with a carved wooden folding table he had just purchased and then knocked him to the ground.

His shouts brought nearby police and bystanders rushing to his aid.

Huggins and his wife had actually debated earlier whether to visit the narrow alleys and famous shops of the 350-year-old Khan el-Khalili because of last week’s deadly bombing attack that killed a French teenager and wounded 24 others, mostly tourists.

“We felt after a major incident that a few days later would be the safest time to go,” recalled Huggins, who teaches at a school in Alexandria.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing and police have said they are still questioning suspects and witnesses.

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