Mexican Tourists Accidentally Killed in Egypt Army Raid

Mexican Tourists Accidentally Killed in Egypt Army RaidMexican Tourists Accidentally Killed in Egypt Army Raid

Egyptian security forces have killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, after mistakenly targeting their convoy while pursuing fighters in the country’s Western Desert.

A joint police and military operation on Sunday “chasing terrorist elements” in Al Wahat “mistakenly” targeted four pickup trucks carrying Mexican tourists, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed the incident and said at least two of the dead were Mexican nationals.

It said in a statement that the victims were still being identified, and foreign ministry personnel were working with the families of the victims.

Mexican government demanded a thorough investigation into the incident. President Enrique Pena Nieto on Twitter condemned the incident. He also said that he is adding to the diplomatic personnel in Egypt to attend to the people that have been injured.

Egypt did not give an exact breakdown of the casualties but said “the incident led to the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and wounding of 10 others”.

“The area they were in was off limits to foreign tourists,” it added.

The Mexican ambassador had visited five other nationals being treated at the Dar al-Fouad Hospital in a western Cairo suburb, where they were listed in stable condition, according to the Mexican Foreign Ministry.

The ministry gave few details about what happened, saying an “undetermined” number of Mexican tourists were attacked “in circumstances that are still not clear”.

Mexico’s foreign minister is scheduled to give a press conference on Monday.

Egypt’s Interior Ministry did not indicate whether the tourists were targeted with automatic weapons or aerial bombardment during the operation against fighters on the Al Wahat district.

The Islamic State group in Egypt said in a statement that it had “resisted a military operation in the Western Desert” on Sunday.

The vast Western Desert, popular with tourists for its oases and rock formations, is also a hideout for armed groups.

Last month the Egyptian branch of the IS group beheaded a young Croatian there who was working for a French company and have also launched numerous attacks against security forces.

  Struggle Against IS

Egypt has been struggling to quell an insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, their main holdout in the country’s east, since the military overthrew fromer president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

Last week the army launched an operation in the Sinai area against IS which it said killed 56 fighters.

The army often reports large death tolls among the armed group but they are impossible to verify and there has been little noticeable effect on IS’s ability to carry out deadly attacks on the security forces.

The government says hundreds of police and soldiers have been killed, many of them in attacks claimed by IS’s Sinai Province affiliate.

After launching spectacular attacks targeting security forces in its North Sinai bastion over the past two years, IS fighters in Egypt are now adopting tactics similar to the main IS group in Iraq and Syria–abducting and beheading foreigners.

The beheading in July of Croatian engineer Tomislav Salopek, claimed by the IS group, appeared aimed at threatening tourists and foreign employees of western firms–two cornerstones of an economy battered by years of political unrest since the 2011 uprising that ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt’s economy is traditionally driven by tourism but arrivals have plummeted as the country tries to recover from years of political and economic chaos.

About 10 million tourists visited in 2014, down sharply from a 2010 figure of almost 15 million people who visited the country with its archeological sites and Red Sea resorts.