Updated 07:09 AM EDT, Sat, Apr 10, 2021

8 Mexican Tourists Killed in Egypt After Being Mistaken as Terrorists

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Eight Mexican tourists were mistakenly killed by Egyptian terrorists on Saturday in the country's Western Desert.

According to CNN, the tourists were on a safari with an Egyptian tour group when the terrorists opened fire on them and killed 12 people. Four Egyptians are believed to have died as well.

Mexico's foreign ministry said that six people are hospitalized in Cairo and are now in stable condition, CBC wrote. Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, Mexico's ambassador to Egypt, named two Mexicans killed in the attack: Luis Barajas Fernández and María de Lourdes Fernández Rubio, Fox News Latino reported.

A third Mexican citizen, Rafael Bejarano, was confirmed dead by his sister, Gabriela Bejarano, CBC added.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto condemned the incident and called for a thorough investigation, CBC noted. On Tuesday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Siss contacted Peña Nieto and offered his condolences and reiterated that "Egypt will provide all necessary medical assistance for the injured," the news outlet added.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also offered his condolences through Facebook.

"The chain of events is still confusing and unclear. There have been reports, many of them conflicting, regarding whether the tourist convoy had the necessary permits, whether it had taken a detour to a restricted area and whether the use of four-wheel drive (vehicles) instead of a tourist bus had increased the risk of mistaken identification," the foreign minister said on Facebook.

The post continued, "The emerging facts indicate that an operation was taking place against terrorists in that area at the time the convoy passed. We still do not know if the convoy was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if some error was involved."

Read Shoukry's full Facebook post here.

The head of the tour guides union denied the government's accusations saying that the group had no proper permits and was not using authorized cars for tours. The union's Hassan El-Nahla said that one of the tourists was diabetic and couldn't wait until the team reached its destination to have a meal, so they took a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) detour off a paved road, CNN wrote.

"There were no warning signs and no instructions from the checkpoints on the road or the tourism policeman accompanying them," El-Nahla said, as quoted by CNN. "I strongly condemn the lack of coordination between the ministry of tourism, in not following up with the events, and the police."

Mexico's Foreign Minister Claudia Ruíz Massieu went to Cairo on Tuesday to accompany the victims' family members, the news outlet further reported.

Egypt's Western Desert is a common destination for tourists for its large dunes and rock formations. Sightseers often pay a visit to its oases, which offer rich desert culture and cuisine, CNN noted.

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