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Kidnapped Egyptian soldiers released, Rafah crossing open

Seven officers kidnapped in Sinai are free and en route to Cairo after collaboration between tribal sheikhs, residents and military intelligence, says Armed Forces spokesman Wednesday; Border with Gaza now open

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 May 2013
Soldiers in military vehicles proceed toward Arish city in North Sinai, during operation to free hostages (Photo: Reuters)

After almost a week in captivity, seven soldiers held hostage by unidentified militants in Sinai have been released and are en route to Cairo confirmed Egyptian Armed Forces Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Ali, early Wednesday morning.

The officers, who are being flown back to the capital, are free thanks to the efforts of military intelligence in cooperation with tribal sheikhs and residents of the peninsula, the spokesperson added. 

The Armed Forces will hold a press conference shortly to reveal the details of how the soldiers were freed.

Al-Ahram's Arabic language news website also reported that the Rafah border crossing with Gaza is now open. The crossing was closed shortly after the hostages were taken last week.

Seven Egyptian security personnel, including an army conscript and six police personnel, were taken hostage by unidentified kidnappers in North Sinai on Thursday.

It is the first time Egyptian security personnel have been abducted by Sinai-based militants. 

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