Egypt Sinai kidnappers seek to trade foreign hostages for detained relative

Hani El-Asmar , Friday 22 Mar 2013

The abductors are calling for release of their relative, who was arrested for drugs offences

The armed assailants who kidnapped two tourists in South Sinai on Friday want to trade the hostages for an imprisoned relative accused of drugs offences, according to an Ahram Online correspondent.

The reporter said that negotiations are now underway between Egyptian authorities and the kidnappers, who demand the release of a relative who was arrested in the Delta's Sharqiya Governorate on charges of possessing drugs.

A security source said that the abductors are from a tribe based in North Sinai, although the tourists, one Norwegian and one Arab Israeli, were kidnapped in South Sinai.

The kidnappers, he said, have transported the duo to North Sinai while talks with authorities are ongoing.

The masked gunmen stopped the tourists' car on the road between Nuweiba and Dahab on Sinai's eastern coast, forcing the foreigners to switch to their pickup truck.

The identity of the hostages is still unknown.

Kidnappings of tourists have increased significantly in Sinai since the 2011 revolution, which led to a chronic security vacuum.

Hostages are in most cases released after a few hours of being abducted without being hurt.

Short link: