Egypt's army says it is ready to start an operation to rescue seven kidnapped soldiers and policemen but it has not received the order to move yet.
The men were taken hostage last Thursday in the Sinai.
Al Jazeera sources say the kidnappers are demanding that six of its members, who have received the death penalty, be freed from prison. They were jailed for an attack on a police station two years ago.
Border guards at the Rafah crossing with Gaza have gone on strike to support their kidnapped colleagues.
Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Al Areesh.