Egypt has been fighting insurgents linked to the Islamic State. The desert region, popular with tourists, is also a militant hideout. However, the ministry statement claimed the tourists should not have been in that area and their presence there was “illegal.” Last week the army launched an operation in the area against IS, which it said killed 56 jihadists. President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted his condemnation of the attack saying: “In a tragic incident in Egypt, Mexican tourists were attacked. I deeply regret that people have lost their lives.” About 10 million tourists visited Egypt in 2014. The economy in this country is traditionally driven by tourism. An investigation had been launched into how and why the tourists entered an off-limits area.