Armed Beduin tribesmen kidnapped two American tourists in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, Egyptian police said on Thursday. The perpetrators are demanding the release of a fellow tribesman recently arrested in a drug case.
The Palestinian Ma'an news agency identified the tourist as Jonathan Shizarlasky and Carter Brabon, both of whom are 31 years old. They were seized while driving near the resort of Dahab.
"There are negotiations now between the security forces and the armed gunmen to release the tourists," a police source said, adding that the Beduin were seeking the release of one of their tribe who has been jailed in a drugs case.
"We can confirm that there were two US citizens kidnapped May 30 on the Sinai Peninsula and we are working closely with the Egyptian authorities to resolve the situation," a US embassy official said, without giving further details.
Several other tourists have been held briefly by tribesmen in recent months, but have been released unharmed.
Beduin tribesmen in the Sinai have attacked police stations, blocked access to towns and taken hostages to show their discontent with what they see as poor treatment from Cairo and to press for the release of jailed kinsmen.
Two American women were held in a short-lived kidnapping in February until Egyptian authorities negotiated their release a few hours later.