.
.
.
.

Egyptian travel agency blamed for attack on Mexicans

Cairo has said only that its military mistakenly killed the tourists as they were in a restricted area

Published: Updated:

A probe into a botched air strike on a group of Mexican tourists in Egypt that killed eight people in September suggests a travel agency they hired was to blame, Mexico's foreign minister said.

Eight Mexican tourists and four of their Egyptian companions died on September 13 last year when they came under fire during a lunch break in Egypt's vast Western Desert while on their way to the Bahariya oasis.

Egyptian security forces bombed their vehicles from the air. Survivors say they were hit by an airplane and a helicopter.

The Egyptian government has informed Mexico that an investigation into the attack "is nearing completion," Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said Wednesday.

The Egyptian tourism ministry "found that the administrative authorities and the travel agency should have had more clarity on the permit and in that sense would eventually be responsible," she added.

So far, the Egyptian government has been tight-lipped about the deadly event that outraged Mexico.

Cairo has said only that its military mistakenly killed the tourists as they were in a restricted area during a government operation against violent extremist fighters.

Six other Mexican tourists who were wounded in the attack were repatriated to Mexico days after the event.

Cairo has promised a full and "transparent" inquiry, although media in Egypt have been banned from publishing any details on the incident or the investigation.