MEXICO CITY — Mexico said Tuesday that embassy personnel in Egypt have identified six more bodies as those of Mexican citizens killed in an air attack by Egyptian security forces, which mistook desert trekkers for militants.
The deaths of two Mexicans had been confirmed earlier, bringing the total number of Mexicans killed to eight.
Six other Mexicans were wounded. Authorities said Tuesday that their condition is stable.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi on Tuesday called Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to offer his condolences and reiterate that Egypt will provide all necessary medical assistance for the injured, Sissi’s spokesman said in Cairo.
Security forces hunting militants in Egypt’s Western Desert mistakenly opened fire on vehicles used by about 15 Mexicans on a desert oasis Sunday.
A total of 12 people were killed in the attack. The other dead are thought to be Egyptians.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Tuesday that the government is investigating “the precise details of this tragedy,” adding that “the chain of events is still confusing and unclear.”
“We still do not know if the convoy was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if some error was involved,” he said. Egyptian officials initially said that the tourists did not have permission to be in the area.
The incident, among the deadliest involving tourists in Egypt, comes as the country is trying to revive its vital tourism industry following the turmoil after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt has been mainly battling insurgents in the northern Sinai Peninsula, on the other side of the country, where Islamist militants stepped up attacks on security forces after the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.
But in recent months, militants loyal to the Islamic State group have carried out attacks in more central parts of the country.
Egyptian officials initially said that the safari convoy had wandered into a restricted area. The tour company involved “did not have permits and did not inform authorities,” Rasha Azazi, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism, said earlier.
The Western Desert has long been a popular safari destination. In recent years, however, it has been the subject of security concerns because of the long, porous border with Libya. Egypt has been flooded with weapons, mostly from Libya, since the 2011 uprising that toppled Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and plunged that country into turmoil.