Number of Mexicans killed in Egypt rises to 8, two of the injured are Mexican-American

Embassy personnel in Egypt have identified six more bodies as those of Mexican citizens killed in an air attack Sunday conducted by error by Egyptian police and military forces.

The deaths of two Mexicans had earlier been confirmed, bringing the total number of Mexicans killed to eight, Mexico's Foreign relations Department said Tuesday. Six other Mexicans were injured in the attack, including two who are dual Mexican and U.S. citizens.

There were 14 or 15 Mexicans traveling on a desert oasis tour at the time.

Egyptian forces hunting militants in the country's western desert mistakenly opened fire on several vehicles used by Mexican tourists, killing a total of 12 people.

The other four dead are believed to be Egyptians.

Mona el-Bakri, the spokeswoman for the Dar al-Fouad hospital outside Cairo where the wounded were being treated, says two of the Mexicans receiving treatment also hold American citizenship.

The report has not been confirmed, and U.S. Embassy spokesman Brian Shott said officials are looking into whether U.S. citizens were involved in the incident.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Claudia Ruíz Massieu flew to Cairo on Tuesday to coordinate support efforts.

In a news conference late Monday in Mexico City, Ruiz Massieu repeated that Mexican authorities were demanding a full investigation into the incident and that her government still only had confirmed that two Mexicans were killed and six wounded in the attack. She said authorities were still trying to find out what happened to another six tourists.

Mexico's ambassador to Egypt, Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, told local media on Monday that two dead Mexican citizens in the attack in Egypt have been identified as Luis Barajas Fernández and María de Lourdes Fernández Rubio.

A third Mexican citizen, Rafael Bejarano, was confirmed dead by his sister, who said she had been informed of his death by his travelling companions. With six wounded, that would at least leave five unaccounted for. Reports vary on whether there were 14 or 15 tourists in the group.

Alvarez Fuentes told local Radio Formula that the group which was attacked on Monday included 14 Mexicans. He says the tourists "had made a stop to rest and eat and continue on their way to one of the oases," when they came under attack.

Ruíz Massieu  will accompany relatives of the Mexican victims on the flight to Cairo.

Egypt's ambassador to Mexico, Yasser Shaban, told reporters in Mexico City that vehicles used by a tour group attacked by Egyptian forces in the western desert were "similar to those used by terrorists."

Shaban did not repeat earlier assertions that the tourists were in an off-limits area when they came under attack, which left a total of 12 people dead.

Six Mexicans wounded in the attack are hospital and that they are in stable condition.

Bejarano has been identified as a spirituality teacher who has given classes and concerts in Mexico and the United States.

His business partner, Rachel Stewart of San Clemente, California, says the Egyptian trip of about 15 friends was organized by Bejarano's mother, Marisela. Stewart said Marisela, who also took part in the trip, was recovering from wounds suffered in the attack.

Stewart said Monday that the trip was planned as a sort of spiritual retreat, and that Marisela regularly organized such trips.

The 41-year-old Bejarano had lived in San Clemente for about three years and was a self-described shaman, faith healer, and player of the didgeridoo — a long, wooden horn-like instrument from Australia.

Stewart says he "touched everyone with his heart, with his music, with his soul."

Bejarano's sister, Gabriela Bejarano, disputed the Egyptian government's claim that the group was not authorized to be in the area. She says she herself has been on the trip twice, and that "the controls are very strict."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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