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Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 07/17/2012

Americans who were kidnapped in Egypt are reunited with families

Two American missionaries were reunited with their families in Israel on Tuesday, a day after their Egyptian kidnappers freed them, CNN reported.

Lissa Alphonse and Michel Louis, the pastor of a Boston Pentacostal church, were traveling through Egypt’s Sinai region Friday when armed Bedouin tribesmen boarded their tour bus and seized them, along with their tour guide.
U.S. tourists, Michel Louis and Lissa Alphonse, and Egyptian tour guide Hithem Mohamed rest at a police station in Al-Arish, after they were released by their kidnappers in the northern part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Monday. (STRINGER/EGYPT - REUTERS)

“If we were aware [of the safety risks], we would have used correct judgement not to enter that area,” Rev. Jean Louis, Michel Louis’ son, told CNN.

Last week we published a story on the Sinai desert’s descent into lawlessness, which has given rise to cells of Islamist extremists.

“Bedouin tribesmen with grievances against the state, meanwhile, have kidnapped foreign tourists and international peacekeepers. Drug runners and human smugglers have also seized the moment, making both lucrative trades increasingly violent, ” the Post’s Ernesto Londono reported.

In an accompanying blog post, Londono said that while his group faced no scrutiny for interviewing in English, he was on the lookout for kidnappers.

Americans have been kidnapped and released in two other incidents since February.

Bedouins have also attacked police stations, blocked access to towns and taken hostages to show their discontent with the Egyptian government, Reuters reported. In the case of Alphonse and Louis, the kidnappers demanded a prisoner swap rather than money.

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By  |  10:22 AM ET, 07/17/2012

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