Egyptian forces mistakenly killed 12 Mexican tourists and injured ten others in the Western Sahara because they thought they were "terrorist militants", authorities admitted yesterday.
The interior ministry said in a statement that a joint policy and military force was "chasing terrorist elements" in the Western Sahara when it "accidentally engaged four, four-wheel drives belonging to a Mexican tourist group".
The revelation comes after the interior ministry had previously claiming the dead were terrorists involved in operations against the army and police.
According to the ministry's initial statement, the victims were members of the Bayt Al-Maqdis terrorist group and the Hisham Ashmawi group which is accused of assassinating Egypt's Attorney General Hisham Barakat and an attempt to assassinate the former interior minister Major General Mohamed Ibrahim, and the bombings of the security headquarters in Cairo and Dakahlia.
The interior ministry's recent admission appears to have been caused by a social media campaign by a tour guide in Egypt claiming his colleague was killed by an Egyptian army Apache helicopter. Amr Imam used the hashtag #عوض_الجيش_قتله (the army killed Awad), in reference to his colleague.
He said his colleague worked as a tour guide and a hotel manager, adding that he was on a safari in the desert but was killed by Egyptian forces.