Middle East

Two tourists abducted in Egypt 'freed'

Bedouin tribesmen in Sinai peninsula say kidnappers want to exchange hostages for jailed relatives.

Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 07:32
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A spate of such hostage takings has broken out in the restive Sinai, which is popular to tourists [EPA]

An Israeli man and a Norwegian woman kidnapped by armed Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt's Sinai peninsula four days ago have been set free.

The two tourists were freed on Tuesday following negotiations led by of Bedouin tribesmen, the Egyptian state news agency MENA said.

The tourists had been travelling between the resort of Taba, on the border with Israel, and Dahab further south when they were abducted by six gunmen on Friday.

The Israel government identified the man as an Arab-Israeli resident of Eilat, while an Egyptian police official said the woman was a 31-year-old Norwegian.

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.

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.

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.

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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