Egypt Negotiates Release of Kidnapped Tourists

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Egyptian government negotiated the release of an Israeli and a Norwegian tourist held for four days by Bedouin gunmen in the Sinai Peninsula.

Nazareth resident Israeli Amir Omar Hassan, 26, a student at Ben-Gurion University, and Norwegian pediatrician Dr. Ingvild Selvik Ask, 32, spoke to reporters upon arrival at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport on Tuesday.

The two tourists met at the Taba Crossing between Israel and the Sinai Peninsula and decided to share a taxi to travel to Dahab. Both planned to vacation in the Sinai despite warnings by Israel's Counterterrorism Bureau.

Hassan told reporters they were abducted around 8 p.m. and their driver crashed the car trying to escape.

"Within seconds, about 10 armed men turned up, pulled us out of the car, and dumped us inside in the back of their jeeps," Hassan said. "At first they physically assaulted us and tried to intimidate us. When I spoke to them in Arabic, they said, 'Shut up, you're going to die.'"

Both admitted it was a tough four days, but said their captors treated them well.

"The kidnappers treated us well and gave us food and drink," Selvik told the press. "However, we have been through a very difficult four days."

Earlier in the month, Bedouins abducted a British couple to barter the release of a family member accused of smuggling weapons to Egypt from Syria.

Israeli and Norwegian authorities both thanked the Egyptian mediators for securing their release.

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YNet contributed to this report.

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