Kidnapped U.S. tourists released in Egypt

May 31, 2012 at 10:13 AM

CAIRO, May 31 (UPI) -- Two U.S. tourists kidnapped Thursday in Egypt's Sinai region have been released, an official in South Sinai said.

Gen. Ahmed Fawzi, secretary for the governor of South Sinai, told CNN the two kidnapped men, accompanied by Egyptian security forces, were en route to their hotel.

Fawzi earlier said a deal was reached with the kidnappers, who had demanded the release of a man arrested Wednesday for drug possession.

The tourists, both 31, were in a car traveling to a hotel from the resort town of Dahab when they were stopped, Egypt's state-run Ahram newspaper said. The gunmen forced the Americans out of the car and took them away.

Bedouin chief Salem Aenizan, of the Tarabeen tribe, had told CNN the abductors sent a message to him about the tourists' welfare that he could read to media.

"They are unharmed and the Bedouin are treating them well and are friendly to them," the message read.

In February, two U.S. tourists were kidnapped briefly in the Sinai region, CNN said. In January, 24 Chinese workers and a translator were kidnapped while en route to a military-owned cement factory.

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