Blow to Egypt tourism: Bedouin abduct two tourists

Kidnapped tourists are Bedouins' bargaining chip with Egypt's police

CAIRO - Armed Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt's Sinai peninsula abducted on Friday two tourists, an Israeli man and a woman who police said is either Belgian or Norwegian.
The gunmen intercepted the tourists' car and forced them into their truck, the officials said. The tourists had been travelling between the southern resort of Taba, on the border with Israel, and Dahab.
Police officials gave conflicting accounts of the second tourist's nationality. Some said she was Belgian and others Norwegian.
Such hostage takings, which usually last for no longer than 48 hours, began in the restive Sinai peninsula after an uprising in early 2011 forced out president Hosni Mubarak and battered his security services.
The kidnappers are Bedouin who want to trade the hostages for jailed tribesmen.
Israel has repeatedly warned its tourists of threats of attacks in the Sinai, where Islamist militants have waged a low level insurgency against the military and police and occasionally attacked neighbouring Israel.
But Friday's kidnapping did not appear politically motivated. Bedouin sources in the area said the kidnappers wanted to exchange the hostages for jailed relatives.
Bedouin kidnapped two Britons on March 7, only to release them within hours following negotiations with security officials.
The British husband and wife had been kidnapped from a bank in a town as they headed towards the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.