CAIRO — Bedouin gunmen in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula have released two British tourists who were kidnapped earlier on Thursday as they drove from Cairo to the beach resort of Sharm el Sheikh, security and tribal sources said.
The British pair, who were traveling in a private car, had stopped to change money in the town of Ras es-Sidr around 150 kilometers (93 miles) south east of Cairo when they were seized by the tribesmen, said the sources.
They were held for several hours in an unknown location before being handed over to the army after negotiations with tribal elders.
The sources said the kidnappers were demanding the release of four prisoners held in Alexandria on charges of arms smuggling.
South Sinai's Red Sea coast is a major tourism area for Egypt and several other tourists have been held briefly by tribesmen in recent months and released unharmed, often after just a few hours of negotiations with authorities.
Security has deteriorated in the isolated desert region since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising two years ago.
Bedouin have attacked police stations, blocked access to towns and taken hostages to show their discontent with what they see as their poor treatment by Cairo and to press for the release of jailed kinsmen.
Two American women were kidnapped in Sinai in February last year but Egyptian authorities negotiated their release a few hours later.
Two other U.S. tourists were kidnapped in late May that year, and then two more U.S. tourists in July. The captives were released within days in both incidents.
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