Protesters wear masks of Morsi and other Egyp
Protesters wear masks of Morsi and other EgypAFP file

The US State Department has identified the American student killed in Egyptian riots as Andrew Pochter, 21, of Chevy Chase, Maryland. He was stabbed by a protester Friday, according to reports. Another man, an Egyptian, was also killed.

He was in Alexandria to teach English and improve his Arabic, according to his family.

"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's family said in the statement. “Andrew was a wonderful young man looking for new experiences in the world and finding ways to share his talents while he learned. Andrew cared deeply about his family and his friends."

Pochter had been working in Egypt as an intern at American educational non-profit AMIDEAST, according to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

The State Department said Saturday it did not have information on the circumstances surrounding Pochter's death, but the family said: "As we understand it, he was witnessing the protest as a bystander and was stabbed by a protester."

At Kenyon College, Pochter had served as a leader of the campus Hillel Jewish organization, according to student newspaper The Kenyon Collegian.

His family said he had planned to study in Jordan in the spring. Pochter's roommate in Alexandria told ABC News Pochter had been in the city since “at least the beginning of June.”

According to reports in Egyptian news sources, Pochter had been taking pictures of riots when he was stabbed. The initial reports said he was a journalist.