Egypt exonerates itself in killing of Mexican tourists

Egypt exonerates itself in killing of Mexican tourists
Cairo investigators instead lay blame at the door of the tourists' travel agency.
2 min read
08 January, 2016
Egypt has blamed the September attacks on Mexican tourists on the travel agency [AFP]
An investigation by Egyptian authorities blamed a travel agency and local administrative officials for a mistaken attack by security forces that killed eight Mexican tourists and four Egyptians, Mexican officials have revealed.

Troops hunting militants targeted the tourists' convoy in Egypt's western desert in September.

Survivors said the attack was carried out by attack helicopters.

Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said late on Wednesday that the investigation found the travel agency did not have clear permits to take the tourists to the area.

"[Egypt's] Ministry of Tourism found that administrative authorities and the travel agency should have had clearer permission, and in that sense would be held responsible," she said.

Egyptian officials have not commented on the investigation.

Comment: Egypt's desert disaster and nationalistic arrogance

Survivors from the attack told Mexican diplomats they came under fire from a plane and helicopters.

Egypt said the tourists had entered a restricted area and were "mistakenly" killed as security forces chased militants who had abducted and beheaded an Egyptian.

The tourism ministry's claim was, however, contradicted by a statement from Hassan al-Nahla, the head of the Egyptian General Tour Guides' Syndicate, who released a scanned copy of the convoy's security permit, detailing the tourists' itinerary, including a trip to Wahat, an area in the country's Western Desert and a major tourist attraction.

Mexico's government has demanded that Egypt pay compensation for the deadly attack.