Cairo, Sep 14 (IANS) Egyptian security forces mistakenly killed 12 Egyptians and Mexicans in the western desert, the interior ministry said on Monday.
“A joint police and army force were chasing terrorist elements in the western desert area of Al-Wahat and they engaged with four four-wheel drives belonging to Mexican tourists who were present in a restricted area,” Al-Ahram news quoted Egypt’s interior ministry statement as saying.
“The incident resulted in death of 12 people and the injury of 10 Mexicans and Egyptians, who have been transferred to hospitals for treatment.”
The ministry did not specify the death toll of Egyptians and Mexicans apiece.
The vast western desert, which is the gateway to volatile and lawless Libya, has been exploited by militants affiliated to the IS group, who mainly target security forces in Sinai on Egypt’s eastern borders.
“An inspection team was formed to identify what happened and why the tourist convoy was present in the restricted area,” the interior ministry statement said.
Hundreds of police and army soldiers have been killed by militants since the July 2013 overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, with the Islamic State-affiliated Sinai province group claiming responsibility for many of the major attacks.