Cairo: Egyptian security forces mistakenly killed 12 people, including Mexican tourists, and injured 10 others when they targeted a convoy while chasing terrorists in Egypt's Western Desert, leading to an outcry and calls for a probe from Mexico.
"A joint police and army force were chasing terrorists yesterday in the western desert area of Al-Wahat when they mistakenly engaged with four 4x4 vehicles boarded by Mexican tourists who were present in a restricted area," according to an Interior Ministry statement.
"The incident led to the death of 12 and wounding of 10 Mexicans and Egyptians. The area they were in was off limits to foreign tourists," it said.
"An inspection team was formed to identify what happened and why the tourists were present in the restricted area," the statement said.
The statement said the wounded had been taken to hospital and an investigation had been launched into the circumstances of the incident.
The interior ministry, however, did not give the exact number of Mexicans killed nor did it give out the details of how the vehicles were targeted.
Later the Mexican foreign ministry confirmed that at least two Mexican tourists were killed.
Mexico's president has asked Egypt to conduct an "exhaustive" investigation into the incident.
"Mexico condemns these incidents against our citizens and has demanded an exhaustive investigation about what happened from the government of Egypt," President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter.
The Western Desert is one of the areas in the country that has been exploited by militants affiliated to the Islamic State terror group, who mainly target security forces in the Sinai region on Egypt's eastern borders.
Over 600 security personnel have been reportedly killed since?the army ousted Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following massive protests against his rule.