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7 kidnapped Egyptian soldiers in Sinai released


17:28, May 22, 2013

CAIRO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Jihadist Movement in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula released seven soldiers they kidnapped last week, state TV reported on Wednesday morning.

"The soldiers are on their way to Cairo after their release thanks to efforts of the Egyptian military intelligence in coordination with the elders of the tribes and families of Sinai," spokesman of the Egyptian army, Ahmed Mohamed Ali was quoted as saying.

The released security personnel arrived at Almaza airport where President Mohamed Morsi, Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Chief of Staff Sedqui Sobhy were waiting for them.

On his Twitter account, Morsi thanked the armed forces, police and intelligence leadership as well as Sinai's people for their efforts in securing the release of the abducted recruits.

A press conference on the details of the releasing process will be held at the Egyptian Presidency headquarters at 11:00 a.m. ( 0900 GMT).

Meanwhile, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was reopened early Wednesday, five days after its closure by Egyptian policemen in protest against the kidnapping of their fellows.

"The crossing now is open. Our happiness for releasing our colleagues can't be described," the policemen shouted after learning the news.

Last Thursday, a group of militants abducted seven military and police recruits in North Sinai's Green Valley, some 20 km away from the governorate's capital of Arish, demanding the release of their family members who were kept in Tora prison.

Egyptian President Morsi refused to hold dialogue with the kidnappers while the hostages' families appealed to the president and all concerned officials not to launch an attack that might risk the lives of their abducted relatives.

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