Egypt Kidnappers Release 2 American Tourists

Bedouin tribesmen free hostages after negotiations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 3, 2012 8:08 AM CST
Updated Feb 3, 2012 10:51 AM CST
Gunmen Kidnap 2 Female American Tourists in Egypt
An Egyptian protestor throws away a tear gas canister fired by security forces during clashes near the Interior Ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

(Newser) – Two female American tourists and their Egyptian guide were freed today, hours after they were abducted at gunpoint near St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula. Local police chief Maj. Gen. Mohammed Naguib says the three were released after negotiations with Bedouin tribesmen. The three were seized from a minivan that was returning them from the monastery to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

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Naguib said earlier that the kidnappers wanted the release of fellow tribesmen who were arrested, but he isn't releasing details about the negotiations. Tourism has suffered since last year's uprising and the resulting security problems: An official said last month that the number of tourists who came to Egypt in 2011 dropped to 9.8 million from 14.7 million the previous year. (Read more Egypt stories.)

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