Egyptian police pursuing terrorists in the Al Wahat area of the Western Desert accidentally fired on tourists, killing 12 and injuring 10. According to the Mexican Foreign Ministry, at least two of the dead are Mexican nationals. Other Egyptian and Mexican victims are still being identified.
In a statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism said the four all-terrain vehicles comprising the tour convoy were “mistakenly dealt with” during a joint military police and armed forces investigation.
Egyptian officials also say the tour group was in a restricted area and didn’t have permission from authorities.
“Mexico condemns the acts against our Citizens,” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter, demanding that a thorough investigation be conducted by Egypt’s government. Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, has interviewed five of the survivors at the Dar El-Fouad Hospital near Cairo.
The site of the shooting is 30 miles from Bahariya Oasis, which is a popular stop for travelers on tours of the area. NPR’s Leila Fadel reports the area is also home to militants and a branch of the self-declared Islamic State.
“The tragic incident is dire for a country that depends on tourism,” says Fadel.