Kidnapped tourists released unharmed

Egypt's foreign minister said that European tourists who were kidnapped by masked bandits in the southern part of the country were freed without harm, according to published reports.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the group was captured by "gangsters," but did not say how he knew of their release or whether a ransom was paid, reported the Associated Press.

Five Germans, five Italians and one Romanian were seized Friday, along with eight Egyptian guides and drivers, while camping near the Sudanese border, said the AP. They were on a desert safari near Gilf el-Kabir, an area known for ancient cave paintings.

Egyptian Tourism Minister Zoheir Garana said that the tour company organizing the trip negotiated with kidnappers, who demanded up to $6 million in ransom, reported the AP. He said the German government was involved in the talks, but that the Egyptian government was not.

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