The Slatest

Egyptian Forces Kill Mexican Tourists by Mistake During Anti-Terror Operation

An Egyptian member of the armed forces patrols outside al-Maza military airport on January 30, 2015 in the capital Cairo.  

Photo by MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images

Egyptian security forces opened fire on a tourist convoy Sunday, killing at least 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and injuring 10 others. Details are scant but the Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed that at least two of the dead were Mexicans as are at least five of the injured. Six Egyptians were also among the dead, a relative of one of the victims tells the Guardian.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry said the tourists were travelling in a four-vehicle convoy that entered a restricted area in the country’s western desert. The tour company “did not have permits and did not inform authorities,” Rasha Azazi, a spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, tells the Associated Press, noting that any trips to the area require special permission. “They were not supposed to be there.”

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the attack and demanded “an exhaustive investigation by the Egyptian government.”

Spanish newspaper El Mundo talks to “sources from the company that organized the trip” that say most of the tourists were actually from Chile. The convoy was travelling from Cairo to the Bahiriya Oasis and stopped around 60 miles from the destination for dinner. “While they were eating, three Army combat airplanes started shooting and launched missiles on the vehicles,” the source said. “Some attempted to run but the military followed them and opened fire against anyone who tried to escape.”