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US Confirms Egyptian Death in Suez Canal Shooting


The U.S. Embassy in Cairo Wednesday says an Egyptian citizen was killed Monday in the Suez Canal, apparently from warning shots fired by a U.S. Navy-contracted ship to ward off approaching motor boats.

Initially, the United States said there were no casualties.

The U.S. Navy issued a statement Wednesday expressing regret for what it called a "tragic" situation.

A naval commander, Vice Admiral Kevin J. Cosgriff of the Fifth Fleet, said the Navy accepts responsibility for the actions that apparently killed the Egyptian. He added that the military will help take care of the victim's family.

The U.S. Embassy said crew on the civilian ship issued a warning in Arabic, then fired a flare and two sets of warning shots after the Egyptian boat ignored calls to stay away.

Officials say the Egyptian boat was carrying goods to sell to ships passing through the Suez Canal when it approached the U.S. vessel, called Global Patriot.

The U.S. Navy says it is working with Egyptian authorities to investigate the incident.

Egyptian officials said earlier this week that one person on the boat was killed and at least two others were wounded when the U.S. cargo ship opened fire.

The Global Patriot had been waiting permission to pass through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Officials say it began its transit on Tuesday.

The U.S. Navy has been very cautious about allowing small boats approach its vessels since a suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden motorboat into the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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