Beduin kidnap two US tourists in the Sinai

July 14, 2012 11:55

American man and woman were taken along with their tour guide in an ambush in Egypt's central Sinai Peninsula.

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Beduins inspect their weapons in Sinai Peninsula

Beduins inspect their weapons in the Sinai Peninsula 370 (R). (photo credit: Asmaa Waguih / Reuters)

CAIRO - Two US tourists were held hostage in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday by Beduin tribesmen seeking the release of an imprisoned kinsman, security sources said.

The Americans, one man and one woman, were stopped by the Beduins in an armed ambush in central Sinai and taken along with their Egyptian tour guide to a remote mountainous location, the sources said.

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Several other tourists have been held briefly by tribesmen in recent months and have been released unharmed, often after less than a few hours of negotiations with authorities.

Beduin have attacked police stations, blocked access to towns and taken hostages to show their discontent with what they see as their poor treatment by Cairo and to press for the release of jailed kinsmen.

Two American women were kidnapped in Sinai in February but Egyptian authorities negotiated their release a few hours later. The incident was repeated in late May with two other US tourists, who were also released a day later.

Security in the isolated desert region has deteriorated since the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in February 2011. South Sinai's Red Sea coast is a major tourism hub for Egypt.

Also Friday, IDF forces killed one man and injured another who were trying to cross the border from Sinai.

IDF medics who arrived at the scene pronounced one of the suspects dead, and a helicopter was called to rush the second to nearby hospital, where he was being treated for his wounds.

"Israeli border police identified two suspects infiltrating Israel through the Israel-Egypt border," an IDF spokeswoman said. "When they failed to heed orders to stop, the troops fired at the suspects."

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