Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is seen during a news conference on the release of the soldiers who were kidnapped last week, in Cairo, May 22, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)
A senior military source has said that the Egyptian army used a diversion strategy to secure the release of seven kidnapped Egyptian soldiers on Wednesday.
"The armed forces executed a diversion strategy by sending out mixed information through news agencies," the source told Ahram Arabic news website.
"We mobilised some troops to a location 70 kilometres away from where the real operation was taking place," the source added.
After almost a week in captivity, the seven soldiers held hostage by unidentified militants in Sinai were released in the early hours of Wednesday, and later returned to Cairo.
The military source also reaffirmed that Sinai tribal leaders played a key role in releasing the soldiers.
"Tribe leaders coordinated with military intelligence. They refused to cover for the kidnappers and informed them that they will not support them," the source said.
"They [tribe leaders] were also the ones who persuaded the kidnappers to release the soldiers in the desert."
The kidnapped security personnel included a conscript of the armed forces and six police personnel; it is the first time Egyptian security personnel have been abducted by Sinai-based militants.