An American cargo ship under contract to the U.S. Navy fired warning shots at a small Egyptian boat while moving through the Suez Canal, the military said Tuesday in a statement. Egyptian authorities said at least one man was killed in the incident.
The MV Global Patriot, which was under short-term charter to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command, entered the canal from the Red Sea at Suez after dark Monday when it was approached by several small boats, according to both U.S. and Egyptian officials.
–The boats were hailed and warned by a native Arabic speaker using a bullhorn to warn them to turn away. A warning flare was then fired,” said a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. –One small boat continued to approach the ship and received two sets of warning shots 20-30 yards in front of the bow. All shots were accounted for as they entered the water,” indicating no casualties.
An Egyptian security official claims that one man is dead and three wounded.
There was a US Navy security team aboard the Global Patriot, but the story doesn’t indicate if they are the ones who fired or not. It seems likely, but it’s also possible that it may have been security personnel with the shipping company if any were aboard.
The body of the man, Mohammed Fouad, went to the hospital morgue before being transferred to the Ibrahim Nafie mosque ahead of burial, said the head of the union of seamen in Suez, Abbas al-Amrikani.
“We are praying over his the body right now,” al-Amrikani said over audible sounds of prayer. “I saw the body. The bullet entered his heart and went out the other side.”
I’m sure that US officials would like to get a look at the wound. I’m also fairly sure they won’t be allowed to.
No doubt there will be calls for stricter rules of engagement after this.