According to NBC News, South Sinai's chief of police confirmed that two American women were kidnapped in Egypt.

The two American women were on their way to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh from a visit to St. Catherine's Monastery, along with three others. The small bus the tourists were on was stopped by a vehicle carrying men with machine guns. Valuables and money were taken from the tourists. Sources are saying that the women were taken as an afterthought. Police told NBC News that along with the two Americans, the Bedouin tribesmen also took an Egyptian tour guide. The remaining tourists were not taken.

Officials have said that two army and police search parties have gone into the mountains where the Bedouin suspects have fled with the two American women.

Security in the desert has been deteriorating since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak last February. NBC suspects that the Bedouin tribe will exchange the prisoners with police for land. It is also suspected that a possible motive for the kidnappings is revenge for the recent crackdown by Egyptian police. The Bedouin tribe have attacked police stations and blocked access to towns because they believe they are neglected and discriminated against by the Cairo authorities.

The AFP is reporting that sources said the kidnappers are demanding the release of relatives that are currently in the Egyptian jails.

The Bedouin tribe kidnapped German and British tourists last month, who were also returning from a visit to St. Catherine's Monastery. They were released a couple hours later. According the the AFP, the Bedouin tribe also took 25 Chinese workers just a couple days before the two American women were kidnapped. They demanded the release of Islamist relatives who had been detained between 2004 and 2006, said the AFP.

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