Shot Mexican tourists families head for Egypt

Grieving family member of the Mexicans

Grieving family member of the Mexicans

The relatives of a group of Mexican tourists killed in an attack by the Egyptian army are travelling to Egypt.

Twelve people were mistakenly killed by Egyptian security forces in an anti-terror operation on Sunday.

Egypt says it mistook the tourists for Islamist militants, whom its forces were pursuing in the Western Desert.

It has apologised, but has insisted the group were in a restricted area. Local sources deny the claim.

Egypt has been battling Islamist militants for years, with attacks escalating since the 2013 ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

Until recently, most of the fighting has taken place in the Sinai Peninsula with occasional attacks taking place in Cairo and other cities.

Egyptian officials put the number of Mexicans killed at eight, but Mexico has so far only confirmed two dead.

They are Luis Barajas Fernandez and Maria de Lourdes Fernandez Rubio.

The relatives of Rafael Bejarano Rangel, another Mexican who was part of the tour group, said they had been told by tour organisers that he was among those killed.

Ten people, among them six Mexicans, were also injured in the attack.

The tour group had been travelling in a convoy of four 4x4s near the Bahariya oasis, a popular tourist location. The organisers said they had stopped for a picnic when the group was attacked.

The interior ministry said an Apache helicopter targeted the tourists “by mistake”.

Egypt’s ambassador to Mexico City, Yasser Shaban, said the tourists’ 4×4 vehicles resembled those used by the militants the security forces were chasing.

David Diaz Bejarano, the nephew of Rafael Bejarano Rangel, said his relatives regularly travelled to the area.

“They’ve been going to Egypt for the past 10 years and every year they go to this place once or twice,” he told BBC Mundo.

He said that his uncle’s idea of travelling to the Western Desert was to find space to reflect. “It was a spiritual journey,” he said.

Mr Bejarano Rangel’s mother, Maricela Rangel, is among those wounded.

According to relatives, Ms Rangel was the one who had been organising the trips from Mexico to Egypt for a decade.

They said that she had been using the same group of guides, whom she trusted.

–BBC

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