|Kidnapped Chinese workers freed in Egypt's Sinai region|
Chinese workers seized in Egypt Chinese to seek workers' release
A group of 25 Chinese workers kidnapped in the north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula on Tuesday have been freed.
An assistant to the Chinese ambassador in Cairo said they were all well and had not sustained any injuries.
Egyptian officials had been negotiating their release after they were taken by Bedouin tribesmen demanding their relatives, in prison for a 2004 bomb attack, be freed.
The attack came days after 29 Chinese workers were kidnapped in Sudan...
American tourists kidnapped by gunmen in Egypt freed
Two women and guide abducted by group of Bedouins released hours after negotiations with tribal leaders in Sinai peninsula
Bedouin tribesmen abducted two American tourists and their Egyptian guide at gunpoint but released them several hours later after negotiations with tribal leaders in the Sinai peninsula, the region's security chief has said.
The abduction along a busy highway came as a fresh blow to Egypt's vital tourism industry, which has been heavily affected by the unrest following last year's uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
Tensions across the country have spiked since a football riot on Wednesday spiralled into a political crisis and fuelled anger at the ruling military council, after protesters accused police of standing by and allowing the bloodshed.
Major General Mohammed Naguib, the head of security for southern Sinai, said the three were snatched from a minivan after it was intercepted at gunpoint while carrying the group from St Catherine's monastery to the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. The attackers, who were driving a saloon car and a pickup truck, then sped away into the mountains. A helicopter scoured the area as authorities launched a search and rescue mission.
The bus was carrying three other people of unknown nationality who were left behind, Naguib said.
The gunmen were demanding the release of a number of fellow tribesmen arrested this week on drug trafficking and robbery charges, but agreed to free the women after mediation efforts between officials and tribal leaders, Naguib said.
Bedouins have long complained of discrimination and harassment by the government, and tensions have intensified in recent months along with a general deterioration of security in the region. There have been attacks on police stations, with armed militias roving the streets and attacks on pipelines carrying gas to Jordan and Israel.
Naguib said he had agreed to look into the Bedouin demands.
Katharina Gollner-Sweet, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Cairo, confirmed that two American women had been kidnapped but gave no further details, citing privacy concerns.
Earlier this week, armed Islamic militants seized 25 Chinese factory workers after forcing them off a bus elsewhere in the peninsula, but they were freed the next day. The kidnappers were also demanding the release of members of their group arrested years before on charges of terrorism.
Egypt has faced a surge in crime since the uprising, which toppled Mubarak's police state, which kept tight control over its population of 85 million. Protesters accuse the military council that has assumed power and the police force of negligence.
The tourism minister, Mounir Abdel-Nour, said last month the number of tourists who came to Egypt in 2011 fell to 9.8 million from 14.7 million the previous year. Revenues for the year were $8.8bn compared with $12.5bn in 2010.