Four trade union leaders abducted Tuesday in southern Sinai

Ahram Online, Wednesday 8 Jan 2014

The Egyptian General Federation of Trade Unions is expected to hold a press conference Wednesday concerning the abduction of four of its leaders

Snapshot from state TV: three of the abducted leaders, January 8, Egypt.

A group of trade unions leaders were abducted on their way to a conference in the Red Sea coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt's General Federation of Trade Unions (GFTU) said on Tuesday.

GFTU said the head of the General Union of Tourism, its deputy, secretary general and a Ministry of Labor official were taken hostage by unidentified armed assailants in Oyoun Moussa, a few miles away from Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel under the Suez Canal that connects the Sinai Peninsula to the city of Suez.

The four leaders were on their way to Sharm el-Sheikh to prepare for a conference by GFTU planned on Thursday to support a newly amended constitution, which will be put on public vote in less than a week.

The union is holding a press conference Wednesday to announce their stance and possible details.

Minister of Manpower Kamal Abu Eita said security forces in South of Sinai were working for the safety and the release of the abducted leaders.

"Point your weapons to those who occupy your land and not to those who support your cause," Abu Eita said in comments to the private TV channel Al-Hayat later on Tuesday.

"These terror attacks will greatly affect tourism, which was starting to recover," he added.

Attacks targeting military and police forces and installations surged after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in July, and were mainly focused in the restive Sinai Peninsula, but have expanded to target government buildings in the capital and other provinces.

A Sinai-based al-Qaeda linked group named Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks.

A recent deadly attack targeted a police headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura in a blast that killed 16 and injured more than 130.

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