Ahmed Elbatrawy

2 Americans kidnapped in Egypt, authorities say

(CNN) — Two American tourists have been kidnapped in the southern part of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a security official said Friday.

They were abducted by unknown Bedouins, said Gen. Mohamed Naguib, head of security in the region.

The kidnappers “want certain detainees released and retried,” said Gen. Marwan Mustapha, spokesman for the Egyptian Interior Ministry.

“Our authorities are dealing with the situation,” he said.

The country’s minister of tourism, Fakhri Abdel Nour, announced on Al Hayat Egyptian TV that authorities had located the kidnappers and were negotiating with them.

Katharina Gollner-Sweet, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, said they are working with Egyptian officials to ensure the tourists’ safety.

The abductions come several days after kidnappers held a larger group for a day.

Twenty-four Chinese workers and a translator were kidnapped by Bedouins while on their way to a military-owned cement factory on Tuesday, the state-run Xinhua news agency of China reported.

A group of armed Bedouins had blocked the road on which they were traveling. They wanted the Egyptian government to release prisoners. The hostages were released after a day, the news agency said, after Egyptian authorities intervened.

Kidnappings and daylight armed robberies have become increasingly common in the turbulent year since Egypt’s long-ruling dictator Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

In particular, wealthy Egyptians have been targeted by hostage-takers demanding ransom.

“Two of our family members, Ismail, (age) 13 and Sara, 8, were kidnapped yesterday. Right after they got out of their house … on their way to school,” said Mamdouh Eid, an executive in a construction company and the executive director of the Fan’s Committee for the popular Egyptian soccer team Al Ahly.

Eid revealed news of the kidnapping of his family, during an interview with CNN about the rampage in a Port Said football stadium that left at least 79 people dead. Hours after he survived the deadly incident, Eid said he learned of the kidnapping of his two child cousins.

“Thankfully, we got them back last night,” he said. He declined to explain how the children were returned to their parents.

“Its scary. We don’t know what we’re heading to and if it will ever be the same again.”

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Ahmed Elbatrawy