egypt kills mexican tourists in desert strike error
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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In a police and military operation of chasing militants

Egypt kills Mexican tourists in desert strike error

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Arab Today, arab today Egypt kills Mexican tourists in desert strike error

Off-road vehicle tracks mark the sand approaching a group of mushroom-like chalk Inselbergs
Cairo - Arab Today

Egyptian security forces have killed 12 people including Mexican tourists in error while chasing jihadists in the vast Western Desert, sparking condemnation of what Mexico called a "deplorable" air attack.

A joint police and military operation Sunday "chasing terrorist elements" had "mistakenly" targeted four pick-up trucks carrying Mexican tourists, an interior ministry statement said.

It did not give a casualties breakdown, but said "the incident led to the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and the wounding of 10 others".

It said the tourists were in an "off-limits" area, but did not give an exact location.

In Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto said 14 Mexicans were involved in Sunday's "grave incident".

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu told reporters that an air strike killed at least two Mexicans.

The tour group had arrived in Cairo on September 11 and left two days later for the Bahariya oasis, Ruiz Massieu said.
She said six Mexican survivors told Mexico's ambassador to Cairo that they had stopped for a meal when they "suffered an aerial attack with bombs launched by a plane and helicopters".

Mexico had expressed its "deep dismay over these deplorable events" in a diplomatic note to Cairo's ambassador, demanding an "exhaustive" investigation, she said.

Egypt has pledged to create an investigative committee headed by the prime minister, Ruiz Massieu said.

"The events of yesterday have saddened us as a nation. There is no precedent in years of an event like this one that harms our compatriots," Pena Nieto said.

"Mexico has demanded from the Egyptian government an exhaustive, deep and swift investigation into what happened," he said in Mexico City.

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said American embassy staff were checking "reports of a potential US citizen involved".

He refused to be drawn on reports that US-built and supplied Apache attack helicopters were used in the raid.

- Tourism concerns -

Mexico's envoy in Cairo had visited wounded nationals in the city's Dar al-Fouad Hospital where they were listed in stable condition, the foreign ministry in Mexico City said.

Mexican media identified one of the dead as a 40-year-old musician whose mother was wounded.
The incident was likely to raise further concerns for Egypt's vital tourism industry, which has struggled to recover from years of political and economic chaos.

The Western Desert, popular with tour groups, extends from the suburbs of Cairo to the border with Libya.

A senior tourism ministry official told AFP the incident happened as the tourists were between Cairo and the Bahariya oasis, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) southwest of the capital.

A police source said special forces on Sunday were carrying out an operation involving air support about 150 kilometres west of Bahariya.

The desert is also a militant hideout, and Western embassies have long warned against non-essential travel to the area.
Last month, Egypt's branch of the Islamic State group beheaded a young Croatian there who was working for a French company, and IS has also attacked security forces there several times.

Daesh in Egypt said in a statement it had "resisted a military operation in the Western Desert" on Sunday, but gave no other details.

Egypt has been struggling to quell a jihadist insurgency since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, focused mainly on their primary holdout in the Sinai Peninsula in the east.

- Jihadist tactics -

The country has one of the region's most powerful and well-equipped militaries, which was further boosted by recent deliveries of F-16 warplanes by Washington and Rafale fighters from France.

Last week, the army launched an anti-IS operation in the Sinai which it said killed 56 jihadists.

The army often reports large death tolls among the insurgents, but they are impossible to verify and there has been little noticeable effect on IS's ability to stage attacks.

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

After launching spectacular attacks targeting security forces in North Sinai over the past two years, militants are increasingly adopting tactics similar to the main Daesh group in Iraq and Syria.

In July, the group claimed the Italian consulate bombing in Cairo that killed one civilian, and it also claimed the killing of an American employee of oil company Apache last year in the Western Desert.

The beheading in July of Croatian engineer Tomislav Salopek, claimed by Daesh, appeared aimed at scaring off tourists and foreign employees of Western firms -- two cornerstones of an economy battered by years of unrest since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

About 10 million tourists visited Egypt in 2014, down sharply from a 2010 figure of almost 15 million.
Source: AFP

 

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egypt kills mexican tourists in desert strike error egypt kills mexican tourists in desert strike error

 



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