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2 Americans, 1 Egyptian kidnapped by Beduins in Egypt's Sinai: officials

A drive in Sinai takes an unexpected turn.

Sinai Egypt American tourists kidnapped 03 02 2012Enlarge
A Bedouin walks on Mount Moses in the Sinai Peninsula. (AFP/Getty Images)

Two American tourists and their Egyptian guide were kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai peninsula today by Bedouins demanding the release of a jailed relative, security officials told Reuters.

The two, a man and a woman, were taken hostage along with their Egyptian guide while traveling by car in central Sinai, said Agence-France Press.

More from GlobalPost: Egypt: Security in the Sinai Peninsula is getting worse

Such hostage-taking has been on the rise in the lawless tribal area in recent months, but captives are usually released unharmed several hours later. For example, two American females taken captive there in February were freed a few hours later, said Reuters.

However, the region has also become more dangerous lately. Israeli troops killed a man trying to enter cross the border illegally from Sinai last night.

Criss-crossed with swelling migrant routes, the area has recently seen an uptick in smuggling activity and serves as a crossing point for Palestinian militants from Gaza, according to AFP.

North Sinai Bedouin have also been increasingly vocal in demanding that relatives jailed under ousted former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak be released. 

But the tribal community, whose distinct traditions and dialect set them apart from the rest of Egypt, are given little attention from Cairo, reported GlobalPost

They also complain of being racially profiled by Egyptian security forces in the region. A group of them held a protest Sunday after two Bedouins were shot by police, reported Egypt Independent

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/120713/2-americans-1-egyptian-kidnapped-beduins-egypts-sinai