Report: Egypt steps up efforts to free kidnapped American tourists

American tourists kidnapped in Egypt
American tourists kidnapped in Egypt


    American tourists kidnapped in Egypt


American tourists kidnapped in Egypt 02:03

Story highlights

  • The son of male kidnap victim Michel Louis says his father is a diabetic
  • EgyNews: Authorities receive confirmation that the tourists are near where they were abducted
  • Security official: Bedouin kidnappers want the release of a relative held on drug charges
  • Kidnappings and robberies are up since longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year

Egyptian security services in North Sinai are intensifying efforts to get a pair of kidnapped Americans and their tour guide released, state media reported Saturday.

The push comes after authorities received confirmation that the trio was still in the area where they were abducted. Their detention was intended to bargain the release of relatives in custody of Egyptian authorities, EgyNews reported.

Security sources "confirmed that continuous efforts are being made in order to determine the whereabouts of the Americans and the Egyptian tour guide on one hand, and to release them in coordination with tribal leaders and the families in the region," EgyNews said.

The tourists and their guide were kidnapped Friday in the Sinai region of Egypt, authorities said.

The family of one of the kidnapped Americans identified their loved one as Michel Louis, a pastor from Dorchester, Massachusetts.

Louis was traveling with a group of clergy and church members when their vehicle was stopped and he, another member and their tour guide were detained, the Louis family said in a statement.

The family of the Rev. Michel Louis released this photo of the pastor who was kidnapped in Egypt.

Louis' son, Jean, told reporters his father is a diabetic. He thanked everyone involved in trying to secure his release and asked that people pray for his safe return, and the safe return of those with him.

"We're all in good spirits because we know that the God that we serve is in control of the matter," the son said.

He confirmed the identity of the other tourist, a woman, as Lisa Alphonse.

Bedouin kidnappers want authorities to release a relative who is in detention in Alexandria on drug charges, said Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of security in the North Sinai.

Iranian literary translator missing, source says

Kidnappings and armed robberies have increased since a popular uprising ousted Egypt's long-ruling dictator, Hosni Mubarak, last year.

In February, two American tourists were kidnapped and immediately released in the Sinai region. The same thing happened in June, when two American tourists were released about a day after they were abducted.

In Friday's incident, Bedouins stopped a tour bus en route to Taba and kidnapped the two tourists -- a man and a woman -- and their guide, Bakr said.

Authorities are trying to negotiate with the kidnappers, he said.

In a message posted on Twitter on Friday, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo said it was "in close touch with Egyptian authorities, who are doing everything they can to bring about safe release of the American tourists."

Clinton arrives in Egypt for first meeting with new president

      CNN recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.