2 Mexican tourists among 12 dead in mistaken government attack in Egypt: Egyptian Forces Kill Mexican Tourists
Published: September 14, 2015
2 Mexican tourists among 12 dead in mistaken government attack in Egypt: Egyptian Forces Kill Mexican Tourists, Egyptian security forces killed 12 people and wounded 10 “by accident” when they mistook a convoy of mostly Mexican tourists for a group of militants they were hunting in the desert, the interior ministry said on Monday.
Two Mexicans were killed, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said, though Egyptian security and judicial sources later said that eight Mexicans and four Egyptians were killed, and eight Mexicans and two Egyptians were wounded.
The sister of a Mexican Reiki healer who was among the dead said a relative of the group’s tour guide had sent her a list of eight Mexicans killed in the incident.
The group of 22 had parked their four 4×4 vehicles off-road on Sunday for a barbecue near the Bahariya oasis, a tourist site in the western desert, when army aircraft suddenly began shelling them from above, security sources said.
As members of the tourist convoy tried to flee, additional security forces on the ground fired on them.
“Unfortunately we have confirmed that two (Mexicans) lost their lives and six more were wounded,” Pena Nieto said, condemning the incident. “Mexico has demanded the Egyptian government conducts a swift, exhaustive investigation.”
Pena Nieto said he had been assured Egypt’s prime minister would personally spearhead a probe.
Six Mexicans who survived the incident told Mexico’s ambassador to Egypt they had been bombed by helicopters and an aircraft while they stopped for a break in the desert.
“They each said separately they had been bombarded from the air by a plane and helicopters,” said Massieu. She gave no details about the identities of the tourists, other than that they had arrived in Egypt on Sept. 11.
Reuters, however, spoke to Araceli Rangel Davalos, whose nephew Rafael Bejarano was killed and her sister Marisela was wounded in the attack. She said she knew the group’s guide, an Egyptology expert whom she identified as Nabil Altawami, well. She had not yet spoken to her sister.
“I have traveled with the guide around 9 times, and he never exposed us to any danger,” she told Reuters by telephone. “He protected us.”
Gabriela Bejarano, Rafael’s sister, cast doubt on the Egyptian government’s account of the incident.
“I don’t think they were mistaken (for militants),” she told local radio in Mexico. “As far as I understand … they were dining when they came under attack … They were in a permitted area. On this occasion they didn’t stay to camp, because that was what was not permitted.”
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