Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil rushed to visit a five-star hotel nearTahrir Squareto assuage a panic-stricken hospitality industry after an attack by armed assailants shook the staff and prompted guests to rush out of the chaos-hit area.
The Semiramis Intercontinental in centralCairocame under attack overnight when masked assailants forced their way inside, ransacked and looted the lobby even as anti government protesters were clashing with security forces outside.
The hotel sent panic SOS calls on its Twitter account, seeking help, after which local civilians and groups of protesters came to its aid and held the trouble makers.
Reports in the local Al Ahram and Egyptian Independent said the incident prompted many visitors to check out of the hotel.
"EMERGENCY! WE ARE UNDER ATTACK! SEVERAL THUGS HAVE ENTERED THE SEMIRAMIS! SEND HELP," hotel employees pleaded via the official hotel account on Twitter.
"SOS If anyone knows anyone in #Military #Police #Government, please send help! Thugs in Lobby," they said.
Local civilians and batches of anti-government protesters came to the aid of the panic-stricken staff and guests and held the assailants before handing them over to police.