Monday, September 22, 2008


CAIRO, Egypt -- A group of 15 foreign tourists, including five Italians, were kidnapped Monday in southern Egypt, according to Egyptian officials and the Italian Foreign Ministry.

Details remain unclear and a breakdown of the tourists' nationalities wasn't available.

A security official in Aswan, 425 miles south of the capital Cairo, said authorities there were trying to determine the circumstances of the abduction.

An Egyptian government official said the kidnapping took place at a remote location near the Sudanese-Egyptian border south of Aswan. He too said that details remained sketchy. "We don't know yet who did this and we don't know the whereabouts of the tourists," he said.

The two Egyptian officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak to the media.

There has been virtually no violence against tourists in the Nile valley and southern Egypt since an uprising by Islamist militants during the mid-1990s was put down by the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

The last major attack on foreign tourists in the Nile Valley took place in 1997 when 58 were killed by militants in the ancient temple city of Luxor, just north of Aswan.

Copyright © 2008 Associated Press

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