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Freed Israeli kidnap victim returns home from Egypt's Sinai

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

An Israeli man kidnapped by armed Bedouin in Egypt's Sinai peninsula last week has arrived home, telling reporters that he and his Norwegian companion had been threatened with death.

"They set a trap for us with two jeeps that stopped us," Israeli Arab Amir Omar Hassan told reporters on his arrival late Tuesday at Ben Gurion airport.

"About 10 armed men got out and threw us in the back of the jeeps," he said in remarks broadcast Wednesday by Israeli radio stations. "They said shut up, you're going to die now."

Hassan, 23, was greeted at the airport by family then taken to his home to Nazareth.

Haaretz daily quoted him as saying that he and 31-year-old Norwegian Ingvild Selvik Ask, who had asked to share his taxi, were abducted on Thursday as they travelled from the Red Sea resort of Taba, on the border with Israel, to the coastal town of Dahab further south.

They were set free early on Tuesday thanks to the efforts of Bedouin tribesmen, said an Egyptian security official cited by state news agency MENA.

Israel's foreign ministry praised Egypt for its handling of the matter.

"Israel wishes to thank the Egyptian authorities for their quick, efficient and successful action for the release of the kidnapped Israeli and Norwegian tourists,' spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement.

"We all share the happiness of the Hassan family upon the homecoming of their son, Amir."

The Norwegian foreign ministry confirmed the release of Ask, a paediatrician.

"We are relieved and happy that the situation has unravelled," spokeswoman Ragnhild Imerslund told AFP in Oslo. "She was apparently treated well and is in good shape."

A spate of hostage takings, which usually last for no longer than 48 hours, broke out in the restive Sinai after an uprising forced out president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 and battered his security services.

The kidnappers are normally Bedouin who want to trade the hostages for jailed fellow tribesmen.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130327/freed-israeli-kidnap-victim-returns-home-egypts-sinai