South Korean ambassador arrives in Egypt

Feb. 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM
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CAIRO, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- South Korea's ambassador to Egypt arrived in the Sinai Saturday to help secure the release of three South Koreans kidnapped in the area.

Two South Korean tourists and a tour guide were abducted Friday near the St. Catherine monastery near Mount Sinai in the southern Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian authorities notified the ambassador, and were working on securing their release, Yonhap News Agency reported.

Officials called for an emergency meeting in South Korea Saturday to discuss measures to protect Korean nationals abroad from future incidents. The ministry said it was considering raising the alert level regarding travel to Egypt from a level two to a level three. A level four is a full ban.

The Sinai region has become more dangerous in the past year, with clashes between tribesmen, Islamist militants and security forces, the Egypt Independent reported.

Tribesmen will sometimes kidnap tourists to leverage negotiations with the government; however, their captives are rarely harmed.

Two American women were kidnapped in the Sinai region last week, and released in short order. The women claimed they were treated well and given tea and dried fruit.

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