Egypt releases Israeli yachtsmen

Ten sailors held since Sunday; headed back to Israel through Suez Canal.

Ten Israeli sailors were released to their two yachts and were making their way northward through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea and on to Israeli shores on Monday afternoon after being held by Egyptian authorities since Sunday. The yachts were being accompanied by Egyptian naval vessels, traveling at their top speed of seven knots. The ten sailors had left the port in Eilat last week in order to join the 50 yachts that sailed from the Herzliya marina headed for the Medreb rally.
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The two yachts caught up with the rest near the Egyptian tourist city of Urgada on the west bank of the Red Sea. The yachts all turned north, headed for the entrance to the Suez Canal, in order to return to their home port in Herzliya. Egyptian authorities, however, only allowed the original 50 yachts to sail as planned through the canal and arrested the two accompanying yachts, saying their documents were incorrect and their ships were not recognized. The yachtsmen tried to convince Egyptian authorities to let them go, but they were promptly taken to Suez port, where their ships were tied and they were forbidden from leaving their ships. Authorities allowed the ships to sail on Monday only after the intervention of Israeli diplomats.