"A joint force from the police and military, whilst chasing terrorist elements in the oasis area of the western desert tonight, accidentally engaged four four-wheel drives belonging to a Mexican tourist group," the ministry said in a statement.
"The incident resulted in the death of 12 Mexicans and Egyptians and the injury of 10 others who have been transferred to hospitals."Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto condemned the attack on his Twitter account, describing it as a tragic incident and demanding a full investigation.
"Mexico condemns these deeds against our citizens and has demanded an exhaustive investigation of what has occurred," he tweeted.
Egypt's tourism ministry spokesman told state news agency MENA the convoy was at an off-limits site and was using unlicensed cars.