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CAIRO — An assailant stabbed an American man outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Thursday, a security official said, in a rare attack on a U.S. citizen in the Egyptian capital.

The American was rushed to a nearby hospital, and the motives for the assault were not immediately clear. According to the Egyptian official, an assailant wielding a knife attacked the American as he stood outside the embassy building in the central Cairo neighborhood of Garden City.

The embassy was once a heavily fortified facility, but security measures have been relaxed despite street protests over the past two years in the nearby Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egypt's 2011 uprising.

The attacker was arrested and was being questioned by police, said the security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. He refused to elaborate or identify the American. It was not immediately clear whether the victim was waiting in the line outside the U.S. citizens' services and consular section when the attack happened.

A medic at the al-Qasr al-Aini hospital, also speaking on condition of anonymity for the same reason as the security official, said the American was admitted to the emergency room but refused to give further details.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy.

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