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Officials Express Regret Over Death in Suez Canal Incident

American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 26, 2008 - U.S. 5th Fleet officials today expressed regret for the death of an Egyptian citizen who died the night of March 24, an apparent result of warning shots fired at a small boat approaching a ship chartered by the U.S. Navy.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased," Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff, 5th Fleet commander. "We are greatly saddened by events that apparently resulted in this accidental death. This situation is tragic, and we will do our utmost to help take care of the family of the deceased."

The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Command continues to work cooperatively with Egyptian authorities, including the Suez Canal Authority, through the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, officials said. A full investigation into the incident is under way.

"We will work through the investigation very thoroughly, coordinating with authorities and the embassy, to get a full account of what happened," Cosgriff said.

An embarked U.S. security team on board the Navy's Military Sealift Command-chartered ship Global Patriot fired warning shots at a small boat approaching the ship as it was preparing to transit the Suez Canal. Two other boats also had approached the chartered ship, but turned away following warnings from Global Patriot.

(From a U.S. 5th Fleet news release.)