DNA tests needed to ID tourists killed by Egypt army

2015-09-15 20:20
Claudia Ruiz Massieu (AFP)

Claudia Ruiz Massieu (AFP)

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Cairo - Egyptian prosecutors on Tuesday ordered DNA tests to be carried out to identify the victims of the mistaken attack by the army on a Mexican tourist convoy two days earlier, state-run newspaper al-Ahram reported.

The tests were necessary as no identification documents were found at the site of the attack in the country's western desert, the report said. Pictures from the scene showed the charred vehicles.

Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu was meanwhile expected in Cairo to meet survivors of the incident, in which up to eight Mexican tourists as well as four Egyptians were killed.

Speaking to the press prior to departing Mexico, Ruiz Massieu said she would hold talks with senior Egyptian officials "to obtain at first hand information that will allow us to clarify the circumstances of this appalling incident".

At least six Mexican survivors of the attack are receiving treatment in a hospital on the outskirts of Cairo.

Staff at the Dar al-Fouad hospital refused to make any statements, saying they were under strict instructions to provide information only to the Health Ministry and the Mexican embassy.

Egyptian officials have been tight-lipped about the incident, and staff in the tourist industry are also reluctant to discuss the background to it.

Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Rasha El Azayzy on Monday told dpa that the convoy had left the road between Cairo and the Bahareyya oasis and entered a prohibited area in the desert while military operations against militants were taking place nearby.

According to Mexican authorities, they were then hit in an airstrike.

A tour guide who had assisted the group as they departed from Cairo, and whose uncle, also a guide, was killed in the incident, told Egypt's CBC television that the off-road spot where the incident took place was not a forbidden area.

The Eygptian Interior Ministry could not be reached on Monday or Tuesday for comment as to why a tourist police agent accompanying the group, and police checkpoints along their route, had allowed them to proceed along the Bahareyya road while military operations were taking place nearby. El Azayzy said the issue was under investigation.

Read more on:    egypt  |  mexico  |  north africa

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