Cairo — At least 12 people were killed and 10 injured in Egypt's southwestern desert on Sunday when armed forces mistakenly fired on a group of Mexican tourists, Egyptian officials said.
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.
The Egyptian ministry said that police and armed forces were pursuing terrorist elements in the area and fired on four cars that turned out to be carrying tourists. The ministry said the victims were Mexican and Egyptian.
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Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, Mexico's ambassador to Egypt, and consular representatives were at the el Hospital Dar-el-Fouad in suburban Cairo and Alvarez had interviewed five survivors, according to the Foreign Ministry statement. It did not provide details of what the survivors said.
Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu was in contact with Egypt's ambassador to Mexico and demanded a thorough investigation into and explanation of what happened, the statement said. She also demanded the support of Egyptian authorities for Mexican nationals being transported to Cairo.
Egypt has been battling an Islamic insurgency in northern Sinai for years, but attacks mainly targeting the army and police escalated and spread to the mainland after the July 2013 military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.