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Middle East

Tourists kidnapped near Egypt beach resorts

Six gunmen in Sinai peninsula intercept car carrying a Norwegian and an Israeli before forcing them into their truck.
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2013 14:41
The hostages were travelling between two beach resorts in Sinai on Friday, when they were abducted [AFP]

Armed Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt's Sinai peninsula have abducted two tourists, an Israeli man and a Norwegian woman, as they travelled between two beach resorts, police said.

Six gunmen intercepted the tourists' car and forced them into their truck on Friday, the officials said.

The pair had been travelling between the southern resort of Taba, on the border with Israel, and Dahab.

Norway's foreign ministry confirmed one of its citizens was abducted but gave no details, while an Egyptian police official said the woman was a 31-year-old Norwegian, after having earlier identified her as Belgian.

A spate of such hostage takings, which usually last for no longer than 48 hours, broke out in the restive Sinai after an uprising in early 2011 forced out president Hosni Mubarak and battered his security services.

The kidnappers are normally Bedouin who want to trade the hostages for jailed tribesmen.

In Israel, police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the abduction and identified the man as an Arab-Israeli resident of Eilat.

Israel has repeatedly warned its tourists of threats of attacks in the Sinai, where fighters have waged a low-level insurgency against the military and police as well as attacks on Israel.

But Friday's kidnapping did not appear politically motivated, with Bedouin sources in the area saying the kidnappers wanted to exchange the hostages for jailed relatives.

On March 7, Bedouin kidnapped a British couple, only to release them within hours after talks with security officials. The Britons had been abducted from a bank in a town as they headed towards the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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