US Pastor’s Son Calls Dad’s Release Answer to Prayer

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Two Americans, including a Boston pastor, that were taken hostage in Egypt last week were released Monday, according to an Egyptian official.

Rev. Michel Louis, pastor of the Eglise de Dieu de la Pentecote, and church member Lissa Alphonse were on a Holy Land tour Friday when they were kidnapped by an Egyptian Bedouin on a Sinai road.

Bedouin Jirmy Abu-Masuh hoped to secure the freedom of his uncle, who was in prison for failing to pay a bribe to police. Egyptian officials, however, refused to bend to his demands.

Finally, after three days of negotiations, Abu-Masuh released the prisoners to security officials near the northern Sinai city of el-Arish.

"We are a people of mercy and they don't have anything to do with this," Abu-Masuh said, referring to the freed hostages.

Egyptian officials said the Americans are in "good condition."

"They are at security headquarters with us now…. The negotiations succeeded, but we did not give in to the kidnappers' demands," Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of security in North Sinai, told CNN Monday.

The pastor, a diabetic, reportedly offered himself as a hostage in exchange for Alphonse.

"The only concern that we have at the moment is that he is diabetic, and the longer they hold him, I assume it's not going to work in his favor," Louis' son, Jean, told reporters prior to his father's release.

Pastor Louis' church takes a trip to Israel every year. This year their tour bus crossed into Egypt.

"He's been doing it for the past four years now, and this just turned out to be a little different from any other year," the younger Louis said.

Meanwhile, Rev. Louis told CNN he thanked God for his release, as well as the other hostage.

The pastor's family called Monday's happy ending an answer to prayer.

"I'm exuberant. I have no words to express," Jean Louis said. "I just want to be with my family. I want to hear my father. I want to hear my mother. Thank you, thank you very much."

Friday's incident is the third time this year Americans have been kidnapped in the Peninsula.

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