Egyptian Security Forces Accidentally Shoot Dead Mexican Tourists

Egyptian security forces mistakenly killed 12 people, including at least two Mexican tourists, in an anti-terror operation in the country's western desert, the country's Interior Ministry has confirmed.

The tourist group was traveling in a restricted zone in the Wahat area of the Western Desert when the Egyptian forces conducted the operation, which also injured 10 Mexicans and Egyptians, the Interior Ministry said in a statement seen by the BBC.

Egyptian military and police conducted the joint operation and were "chasing terrorist elements" in the area before they "accidentally engaged four four-wheel drives belonging to a Mexican tourist group," the ministry said.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry also confirmed both the incident and the death of two Mexican nationals. The Mexican government said that those injured in the attack had been taken to Dar-el-Fouad hospital in Giza, near the capital of Cairo, to receive medical treatment by consular staff.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto denounced the killings on social media, requesting that the Egyptian government immediately investigate the circumstances in which the tourists were killed. "Mexico condemns these acts against our citizens and has called on the government of Egypt for a thorough investigation of what happened," he said.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry said that it would immediately investigate the accident and how the tourists came to be in the restricted zone. "A working group has been formed to examine the causes and circumstances of the incident as well as the justification for the presence of a tourist group in a region to which access is prohibited," it said in a statement.

Egyptian officials said that the tour company transporting the victims "did not have permits and did not inform authorities" about their intended travel, adding that any trips to the area have to be cleared by Egyptian officials.

Egypt has been beset by an Islamist insurgency in the northern Sinai, with a jihadist group in the region pledging allegiance to the the ISIS terror group earlier this year.

Radical Islamists have carried out a number of attacks against Egyptian security forces since former President and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July 2013.