Cairo: Egyptian security forces killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, and injured 10 others when they mistakenly targeted their convoy while chasing terrorists in Egypt's Western Desert.
"A joint police and army force were chasing terrorists yesterday in the western desert area of Al-Wahat when they mistakenly engaged with four 4x4 vehicles boarded by Mexican tourists who were present in a restricted area, according to an Interior ministry statement.
"The incident led to the death of 12 and wounding of 10 Mexicans and Egyptians. The area they were in was off limits to foreign tourists," it said. "An inspection team was formed to identify what happened and why the tourists were present in the restricted area," the statement said.
The statement said the wounded had been taken to hospital and an investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the incident. The interior ministry, however, did not give the exact number of Mexicans killed nor did it give out the details of how the vehicles were targeted. Later the Mexican foreign ministry confirmed that at least two Mexican tourists were killed.
Mexico's president has asked Egypt to conduct an "exhaustive" investigation in to the incident. Western desert is one of the areas in the country that has been exploited by militants affiliated to the Islamic State group, who mainly target security forces in Sinai on Egypt's eastern borders.
Over 600 security personnel have been reported killed since the ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by military following massive protests against his rule.