Sinai kidnappers release Egypt security force hostages | News | DW | 22.05.2013
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Sinai kidnappers release Egypt security force hostages

Seven members of Egypt's security force captured in the Sinai Peninsula last week have been freed. A spokesman for Egypt's military has confirmed the men are on their way back to Cairo.

22.05.2013 DW Online Karten Sinai neu

22.05.2013 DW Online Karten Sinai neu

Egypt's military said it was transporting the hostages back Cairo on Wednesday following their release.

"The seven kidnapped Egyptian soldiers are on their way to Cairo after their release thanks to the efforts of the Egyptian military intelligence in coordination with the elders of the tribes and families of Sinai," army spokesman Ahmed Ali wrote on social networking site Facebook.

The six policemen and one border guard were kidnapped by suspected militants last Thursday on the road from Sinai to Cairo.

Their release came a day after Egypt's interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim said Egypt would not negotiate with the kidnappers. The perpetrators had demanded the release of Islamist militants imprisoned by the Egyptian government over attacks in 2011.

Lawlessness in Sinai

The incident has highlighted the lawlessness in the region following the overthrow of former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The incident also angered the Egyptian police force and prompted dozens of officers to block the al-Awja border crossing into Israel and the Gaza strip on Sunday in an effort to pressure the government into helping free their colleagues.

On Monday the Egyptian military sent tanks and armored personnel carriers crossed from the Suez Canal into the Sinai area in an effort to secure the volatile desert region.

Islamist militants have exploited the power vacuum to use the Sinai Peninsula as a base of operations to launch attacks against Egypt and Israel. Bedouin tribesmen in the region have long complained of being discriminated against by the government in Cairo.

In August 2012, Islamist militants attacked a checkpoint near the Gaza Strip, killing 16 Egyptian security forces and breaching the border before being killed in an Israeli airstrike. Morsi responded by launching an offensive to regain control of the North Sinai.

ccp/mz (AFP, AP, Retuers)