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Two Americans Kidnapped by Bedouins in Egypt’s Sinai Desert

Two Americans traveling in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula were kidnapped by Bedouins demanding the release of a member of their tribe, said Brigadier General Mohamed Salah, head of criminal investigations in south Sinai.

The two tourists were abducted today between the resort towns of Dahab and Nuweiba, Salah said today. He said the Bedouins were blocking the road on which the two were traveling, in a protest to demand the release of a fellow tribesman taken into custody by the authorities yesterday on drug-related charges.

The incident is the latest in which Bedouins have taken tourists captive to pressure for the release of fellow tribesmen, and comes amid growing security concerns in the country following President Hosni Mubarak’s removal from power last year. Tourists have in the past been released unharmed shortly after being kidnapped.

An Interior Ministry official had earlier said that the tourists were taken captive near Taba, a town on Egypt’s border with Israel. The official had declined to be named, in line with ministry policy.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was not immediately available for comment.

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