Two American tourists and their Egyptian guide who were abducted by a Bedouin in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last week were released unharmed today, a security official and the kidnapper said. Rev. Michel Louis, 61, and 39-year-old Lissa Alphonse, both Boston-area residents, had been kidnapped from a bus on Friday along with their guide, Haytham Ragab, on a Sinai road by a Bedouin who was demanding the release of his uncle, who had been detained by Egyptian police on suspicion of drug possession.
The kidnapper, Jirmy Abu-Masuh, told AP that he had handed the three over to security officials near the northern Sinai city of el-Arish today, after authorities promised they were working on the uncle's release. "We are a people of mercy and they don't have anything to do with this," Abu-Masuh said, referring to the Americans. Egyptian officials, who refused to meet Abu-Masuh's demands, met with him for several hours today before reaching an agreement. In Boston's Dorchester section, about 10 family members and friends celebrated the news on Louis' porch, hugging and chanting "hallelujah." "We are in joy after receiving such a message and we believe in God and let me tell you, He did not let us down," says Louis' oldest son, Rev. Jean Louis.