12 people have been killed and 10 injured, after Egyptian security forces accidently shot at a Mexican tourist convoy.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry explained that both the police and the military had been chasing militants into the country’s oasis area of the western desert – bordering Libya – when it “accidentally engaged four four-wheel drives belonging to a Mexican tourist group”.
“The incident resulted in the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and the injury of 10 others who have been transferred to hospitals.”
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism spokesperson, Rasha Azazi, said that the tourists were using unlicensed cars to take part in an unapproved safari at an off-limits site.
Azazi explained that trips to the Farafra area should be cleared by officials in advance, but the group “did not have permits and did not inform authorities”.
Mexico’s foreign minister has confirmed that two of the dead were from Mexico, but as of yet, they have not been officially identified. Work is currently underway to identify the remaining victims.
Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, has visited some of the survivors at a Cairo hospital. He met with five of the Mexican sruvivors, all of whom were in a stable condition.
Taking to twitter, Mexican President Enrique Pen Nieto made his disapproval known, condemning the attack as a tragic incident. He has now demanded that a full investigation into the attacks be opened.
Egypt has been battling an Islamic insurgency by a so-called affiliate of the Islamic State in northern Sinai for many years, with hundreds of police and soldiers being killed as a result. The attacks have spread to the mainland, and tourists have become a target for attacks following the ousting of Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, two years ago in July 2013.
Egyptians officials say that militants of Egypt and across Libya have been attempting to connect with Islamists residing in the Sinai region.