Members of Egypt’s military and police were chasing “terrorist elements” in the country’s vast Western Desert when they came upon the tourists. Among the victims are people from Mexico and Egypt, the ministry said.
The attack happened Saturday within a so-called restricted area.
The tourist group was in cars that were not authorized for tours, and they did not have permits for the trip, MENA state news agency reported citing Egypt’s tourism ministry.
Two of those killed and at least five of those injured were Mexican nationals, Mexico’s foreign ministry said. But the government is still in the process of identifying all of the victims.
The country’s ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, spoke to five of the Mexicans who were hospitalized, according to a statement.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto mourned the loss of his country’s citizens in posts to Twitter.
“Mexico condemns these acts against our citizens and has demanded that the Egyptian government conduct an exhaustive investigation of what happened,” he said.
The Mexican ambassador to Egypt is aiding the country’s injured citizens who are hospitalized, Nieto said. He has called for the embassy to increase staff to help victims and their families.