Monday, September 14, 2015

12 dead after Egypt security forces open fire on tourists by mistake

EGYPT HAS SAID its security forces killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, after mistakenly targeting their four-vehicle convoy while pursuing jihadists in the country’s Western Desert.

A joint police and military operation yesterday “chasing terrorist elements” in Wahat “mistakenly” targeted four pick-up trucks carrying Mexican tourists, the interior ministry said in a statement.

Mexico condemned the incident and called for a thorough investigation.

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 foreign ministry said at least two Mexican tourists were killed.

“Mexico condemns these incidents against our citizens and has demanded an exhaustive investigation about what happened from the government of Egypt,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter.

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 later today.

Egypt’s interior ministry did not indicate whether the tourists were targeted with automatic weapons or aerial bombardment during the operation against jihadists.

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

The vast Western Desert, popular with tourists for its oases and rock formations, is also a militant hideout. Last month the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group beheaded a young Croatian there who was working for a French company and have also launched numerous attacks against security forces.

AFP





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