Mexico demands probe into Egyptian military's 'accidental airstrike'
Updated: 2015-09-15 09:51
Image provided by Mexico's Presidency shows Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (R) making a phone call during an urgent meeting to coordinate the support measures as at least two Mexican nationals were reported killed accidentally by Egyptian security forces, at Los Pinos Official Residence, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on Sept 13, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]
MEXICO CITY - Mexican government on Monday demanded Egypt launch a "swift and in-depth" investigation into the "accidental airstrike" on a convoy of tourists including 15 Mexicans.
Egyptian troops and police forces, who suspected a convoy of four vehicles were carrying terrorists, dropped bombs "from an airplane and helicopters." Egypt's Interior Ministry first reported the incident late Sunday (Mexico time), admitting the troops and police forces chasing terrorists mistakenly opened fire on the tourist convoy, killing 12 travelers and guides.
Official reports said two Mexican tourists were killed and six others hospitalized with injuries. Egypt's English-language news service Al Arabiya, however, reported "the number of Mexican tourists accidentally killed by Egyptian security has risen to eight."
Mexico's Tourism Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu expressed the government's "profound dismay at these deplorable events" at a press conference earlier in the day, and urged Egyptian authorities to "assign the highest priority and urgency" to clear up the case and hold those responsible accountable.
Egyptian authorities insisted the convoy had entered a restricted zone that is off-limits to civilians, adding the organizers of the excursion will be punished.
Egypt embassy in Mexico, meanwhile, has said the government will establish an "investigative committee headed by the prime minister himself to resolve the case and publish the results," according to Mexico's Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Most of the Mexicans were from Guadalajara, the capital of the western state of Jalisco. So far only one of the fatal victims has been identified: Rafael Bejarano Rangel, a musician whose mother Marisela Rangel Davalos, one of the hospitalized, organized the visit to Egypt.
Rangel Davalos' sister, Araceli Rangel Davalos, said the trip had been organized many times before, with the same guide and travel agency, and there had never been a problem.
Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned the attack via Twitter. Mexican Ambassador to Egypt Jorge Alvarez Fuentes and other consular staff were reported to be at the Dar Al-Fouad Hospital on the outskirts of Cairo, the Egyptian capital, attending to the Mexican victims.