An American Jewish college student stabbed to death during a protest in Egypt was in the country teaching English to children and improving his Arabic, according to a Facebook post on Saturday that appeared to be from his family.
Andrew Pochter, 21, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, who was active in his college’s Hillel, died after being stabbed in the chest in the coastal city of Alexandria, where anti-government protesters stormed an office of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
It was not clear what Pochter was doing at the protest, but Egyptian officials said he was carrying a small camera.
A statement on a Facebook page entitled “R.I.P Andrew Driscoll Pochter”, which appeared to have been posted by his family, said Pochter had travelled to Alexandria for the summer to teach English to 7- and 8-year-old Egyptian children and to improve his Arabic.
The page had also been posted on by colleagues of Pochter at the U.S. educational non-profit organization where he was working.
The family statement read: “He went to Egypt because he cared profoundly about the Middle East, and he planned to live and work there in the pursuit of peace and understanding.”
Pochter was looking forward to beginning his junior year at Ohio’s Kenyon College and had planned to study abroad in Jordan next spring, according to the statement. He had also spent time in Morocco.
“Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned,” it said.
A statement from Kenyon College said Pochter was interning in Alexandria with AMIDEAST, an American non-profit organisation that runs education and development programs in the Middle East and North Africa.
A State Department spokeswoman confirmed that Andrew Pochter was killed on Friday in Alexandria.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” Marie Harf said. Harfsaid the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs were providing “appropriate consular assistance.”
Also on Saturday, U.S. President Barack Obama called on Egypt's government and opposition to engage each other in constructive dialogue and prevent violence spilling out across the region.
The Muslim Brotherhood said eight of its offices had been attacked on Friday, including the one in Alexandria. Officials said more than 70 people had been injured in the clashes in the city, adding to growing tension ahead of mass rallies on Sunday aimed at unseating President Mohammed Morsi.
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