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Mexico Confirms 2 Dead In Egypt Air Strike, Pledges Support for Families

Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu has confirmed in a press conference Monday that two Mexican citizens died after Egyptian forces mistakenly killed 12 people who were in a tourist convoy visiting the country. The Secretary added that six Mexican tourists are in an Egyptian hospital outside of Cairo.

"It is noteworthy that the six Mexicans are reported stable," the Secretary said, “However, with indignation and deep regret, I must report that at this time we have enough information to confirm the deaths of two people."

In Guadalajara, Mexico, Gabriela Bejarano told reporters her brother Rafael was killed in the attack. She denied claims the group was not authorized to be in the area.

"That's not true. I have been there twice, the controls are very strict. You can't have a tourism agency, or even be a tourist guide, without a government license," she said, adding that her brother Rafael had also been to Egypt before.

On Twitter,the Secretary wrote that they are currently confirming the identities of other possible victims.

The Mexican Embassy in Egypt has provided a 24/7 emergency phone line to anyone requiring assistance. The Department of Foreign Affairs has also established a line to gather information about Mexican citizens that may live or be traveling in Egypt.

Before the Secretary's press conference, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto tweeted that Mexico "condemned the attacks" and demanded an investigation.

Related Article: Egyptian Forces Mistakenly Kill 12 in Mexican Tourist Convoy

Ruiz Massieu explained that the group had made a stop while on their way to the Bahariya Oasis, a tourist site in the western desert of Egypt, when they were attacked. A committee led by Acting Prime Minister of Egypt Ibrahim Mahlab will be established for the investigation.

The Mexican Ambassador in Egypt Jorge Álvarez Fuentes has personally interviewed the six hospitalized Mexican citizens. The survivors said they were attacked with bombs dropped from aircrafts and said they were evacuated by civilian and military vehicles. According to the Mexican ambassador, it is estimated that the Mexican tourists arrived in Cairo on September 11.

In a brief press conference in the offices of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Egyptian Ambassador in Mexico Yasser Shaba said that the Mexican tourists were in an area where a joint operation between the army and the police force was undergoing.

“They were in pursuit of terrorists, who use four-wheel cars, similar to those being used by the tourists,” Shaba said, “As a result, the tourists were the target of a shooting by the security forces.”

He added that the Egyptian government will do everything possible to provide assistance and support to those harmed as well as facilitate the return of the deceased to their countries.

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