Egyptian security forces accidentally killed 12 people and injured 10 others in the Western Desert, officials said on Monday.
According to the Ministry of Interior, a joint force from the police and military were “chasing terrorist elements” in Wahat and mistakenly targeted the tourists, who were mainly from Mexico and riding in 4X4s in the desert.
“The incident resulted in the deaths of 12 people and the injury of 10 people from among the Mexicans and the Egyptians,” a government official explained. “They have been taken to hospitals for treatment.”
The number of individuals killed and injured vary according to conflicting reports. Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, is calling for a thorough investigation to be held by the Egyptian government.
“Mexico condemns these acts against our citizens and demands an investigation of the incident,” he wrote on Twitter.
A spokesman for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism said that the area in question was restricted and required a permit to be in, while the convoy was using unlicensed cars in a safari that wasn’t approved.
A relative of the tour guide claimed that the area where the tourists died was not restricted and that the incident actually took place earlier on Sunday, but that security forces tried to cover it up until it was reported on Twitter.
Earlier on Sunday, the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State (ISIS) wrote on Twitter that they evaded an attack by the Egyptian military in the Western Desert.
WE SAID THIS: Our hearts go out to all those affected by this tragedy. May the victims rest in peace and their families find justice.