The appeal on Saturday includes the release of six Egyptians employed by an Iraqi unit of the Egyptian telecom giant Orascom who were recently seized.

 

"We urge the hostage-takers to immediately release the Egyptian citizens and any other hostages," presidential spokesman, Magid Abd Al Fatah told reporters during a briefing in Cairo.

 

Confirmation

 

Orascom telecom issued a statement on Friday confirming that six Egyptians, two engineers and four technicians, were among eight employees of the firm seized on Thursday. 

 

Abd Al Fatah called on the captors to free all their captives, saying the men had gone to Iraq to help "establish communications networks in order to enhance the country's contacts with the outside world."

 

He said the abductions would not affect Egypt's commitments towards the Iraqi people.

 

'Deep concern' 

 

He said President Husni Mubarak was "following the case of the six abducted Egyptians with deep concern," adding that the foreign ministry was also "exerting intense efforts with all elements and sides."

 

Egypt was against the practice of taking captives to achieve "political or economic objectives," the presidential spokesman said.

 

Iraqis ought to "stand against the handful of people who take foreign hostages," he added.