Mexico Demands Answers From Egypt After Wounded Tourists Return Home
It was a barbecue gone horribly wrong for 22 Mexican tourists at the Bahariya oasis in Egypt’s western desert. News of Egyptian security forces accidentally attacking a group of vacationers broke last weekend, but more details have emerged, and one thing is clear — Mexico’s government is demanding answers, Reuters reported.
Six tourists who survived the attack flew home from Egypt Friday on the official presidential plane, sent by Mexican President Enrique Nieto with a foreign minister escort. Arriving at Mexico City, they deplaned wrapped in blankets, some draped in the Mexican flag, Reuters said. The five women and one man were immediately whisked away by helicopter to a hospital, as their convalescence continues.
President Nieto went to the medical facility to visit the wounded Friday and was told how the attack occurred, Reuters said, but would not volunteer any specifics, wanting to maintain the survivors’ privacy.
One detail that did emerge was a survivor’s description of the attack as “a three-hour bombing ordeal,” Reuters reported, as army aircraft mistakenly identified the group as militant Islamist insurgents. Eight Mexicans and four Egyptians were killed.
Injuries included burns and according to Mexican Health Minister Mercedes Juan Lopez, via Reuters, one wounded tourist has a broken femur, but all are in stable condition. She added that none of the survivors have bullet wounds, countering reports stating that ground forces opened fire on those trying to flee.
Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, according to Reuters, she “hoped” to bring home the remains of the eight deceased Mexican tourists “in the coming days.”
"What happened makes us indignant and has hurt all Mexicans," Massieu told a news conference at the airport, Reuters said. "We are evaluating all avenues of diplomacy and international human rights that we can take."
Massieu commented that the government is waiting on the findings of an "exhaustive investigation" into the incident by the Egyptian government that was demanded by President Nieto, Reuters said. She said Mexico is ready to take “international” action if the findings are “unsatisfactory,” but would not comment further on this topic, according to Reuters. Mexico has also demanded compensation for the victims.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry has updated its Egyptian travel advisory, telling citizens "to reconsider or delay plans to travel to Egypt given social and political instability, as well as the threat of terrorist attacks or the actions of armed forces to confront them," per Reuters.
A gag order is in place at the Egyptian prosecutor general's office on news related to this incident until the investigation is complete, Reuters said.
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