British tourists 'released after being kidnapped in Egypt'


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The Independent Online

Two British tourists have been released after being briefly held by kidnappers in Egypt, reports say.

Reuters news agency, quoting security and tribal sources, had earlier reported that tourists on their way to a beach resort in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula had been kidnapped by gunmen.

According to reports the kidnappers were pressing for the release of prisoners detained for smuggling.

An Egyptian military intelligence official later said the tourists had been freed just hours after their kidnapping. The official said the British couple were safe and in a security building in Ras Sidr in southern Sinai. 

He said the couple were freed after police promised the Bedouin they would release a detained relative who had been arrested and accused of smuggling weapons from Libya to Egypt.

Tourists have been targeted in the past by Bedouin in Sinai wanting to pressure police to free detained relatives. Tourists are typically not held long and released unharmed.

It is thought the two Britons are a middle-aged married couple.