Gunmen seize Israeli, European tourists in Egypt's Sinai

Friday 22-03-2013 02:24 PM
Gunmen seize Israeli, European tourists in Egypt's Sinai

Tourists at one of Sharm al-Sheikh beaches - Reuters


CAIRO, March 22 (Reuters) - Masked gunmen in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula kidnapped two tourists, an Israeli man and a European woman, travelling between two coastal resorts, Egyptian and Israeli officials said on Friday.

Tourists seized under similar circumstances earlier this month and last year were released unharmed. Security in the Sinai desert region has deteriorated since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising two years ago.

The pair was travelling in a car between Taba, near the Israeli border and Dahab, a popular sea resort further south when Bedouin gunmen in a pickup truck captured them, Egyptian security sources said.

Egyptian security agencies are contacting the kidnappers to try to secure the pair's release, the sources said.

It did not appear that the Israeli had been targeted because of his nationality, two Israeli officials in Jerusalem said.

"Our initial assessment is that this was criminally motivated," one of them said.

Bedouin kidnappers have captured tourists in the past to push for the release of fellow tribesmen from jail. Earlier this month kidnappers briefly seized the country boss of U.S. oil major ExxonMobil and his wife. (Reporting by Yusri Mohamed, additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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