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Americans kidnapped in Egypt reunited with family, church group in Israel

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 8:47 PM EDT, Tue July 17, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Michel Louis says he offered himself as a hostage when gunmen took a parishioner
  • NEW: "We put our faith on God and he don't let us down," Louis says
  • Kidnappers seized the hostages Friday, released them three days later
  • The abduction occured in Egypt's Sinai region

Tiberias, Israel (CNN) -- Two Americans reunited with their families Tuesday in northern Israel, a day after kidnappers freed them unharmed after three days of captivity in Egypt.

"We put our faith on God, and he don't let us down," Michel Louis, one of the Americans, said from the city of Tiberias.

Kidnappers in Egypt released Louis, Lisa Alphonse and their tour guide Monday after holding them hostage since Friday.

Louis recalled the moment the kidnappers came aboard their tour bus. He offered himself as a hostage when gunmen took Alphonse, he said.

Louis is the pastor of a Pentecostal church in Boston and Alphonse is a parishioner at another American church.

Michel Louis is a pastor from Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Michel Louis is a pastor from Dorchester, Massachusetts.

"She's a member of my group. So I said I (can't) leave her to go alone, because I don't know what can happen to her, and I decide to go with her," he said.

Americans kidnapped in Egypt speak out
American tourists kidnapped in Egypt

Louis, a diabetic, was given pita bread, eggs, tea and water by his kidnappers, he said, and was moved each night to sleep in a different location.

Alphonse was the only female in the group. She said she feared for her life, but had faith that God would not let her die.

"Where we were, we didn't know if we (were) coming back," she said.

Kidnappers seized the three Friday in Egypt's Sinai region after gunmen boarded the bus, which was on its way to Israel, family members said.

Michel Louis' wife was on the bus when the kidnapping occurred.

The family was not aware of security concerns in the Sinai region, where Americans had been kidnapped and swiftly released in two incidents since February, said Louis' son, Jean Louis.

"If we were aware, I would believe we would use correct judgment not to enter that area," he said.

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

In the latest incident, one of the alleged kidnappers, Germy Abu Masouh, is a member of a prominent Bedouin tribe in the Sinai. He had demanded Egyptian police free his uncle imprisoned in Alexandria on drug charges.

Authorities did not give in to the kidnappers' demands, Egyptian officials said.

CNN's Elise Labott, Kareem Khadder and Ed Payne contributed to this report.

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