Kidnappers Threaten to Kill Egypt Tourists

German officials negotiate with bandits
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 23, 2008 8:32 AM CDT
Map locates area of Egypt safari kidnapping.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The kidnappers of 19 people, including 11 foreign tourists, in the Egyptian desert have threatened to kill their hostages if officials launch a plane search, Reuters reports. A tour operator being held conveyed the threat by phone to his German wife, and she relayed the information to Egyptian officials, one said. By tracing calls to the wife's phone, they've located the group in Sudan.

German authorities have been negotiating with the kidnappers, who are “bandits” asking for $8 million in ransom, not terrorists, officials say. The group was taken near the Libyan border, close to an area known for neolithic cave paintings. A kidnapped Italian called his wife and told her the perpetrators had spoken English with an African accent, the Guardian notes; conflicting reports said they may be Egyptian, Sudanese, or Chadian.