Mexico says tourists were killed in Egyptian air strike

Mexican tourists say they were bombed by military helicopters and an aircraft while they stopped for a break in the western desert.
Mexican tourists say they were bombed by military helicopters and an aircraft while they stopped for a break in the western desert.PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - A group of people including Mexican tourists who were mistakenly killed by Egyptian security forces were hit by an air strike, Mexico's foreign minister said on Monday (Sept 14).

Egyptian authorities have not said what weapons were involved in Sunday's attack in the Western Desert, in which 12 people died and 10 more were wounded.

But six Mexican survivors told Mexico's ambassador to Egypt that they had stopped for a meal when they "suffered an aerial attack with bombs launched by a plane and helicopters," Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told a news conference.

Ruiz Massieu said that for now at least two Mexicans have been confirmed dead.

The six survivors, who were taken to a hospital in a Cairo suburb, are in stable condition, the minister said.

She said her ministry delivered a diplomatic note to the Egyptian ambassador in which the Mexican government expresses its "deep dismay over these deplorable events" and demands a "swift, exhaustive and deep investigation."

"The Mexican government asks that Egyptian authorities give the highest priority and urgency to clearing up this issue," Ruiz Massieu said.

Egypt's interior ministry said Sunday that a joint police and military operation was "chasing terrorist elements" when it "mistakenly" targeted four pick-up trucks carrying Mexican tourists.

The ministry did not give a breakdown of the casualties but said "the incident led to the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and the wounding of 10 others." It said the tourists were in an area that was "off-limits" but did not provide an exact location.