CAIRO — Suspected militants in Egypt’s Sinai abducted seven security personnel as they headed to Cairo for holidays early Thursday, security officials said. It was the first such kidnapping of security forces in the lawless peninsula.
The officials said masked gunmen ambushed two taxis at gunpoint outside the city of el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai governorate, fleeing with five policemen and one border guard captive. None of those abducted were in uniform, officials said.
Four of the police officers work in the Rafah border terminal leading to the Gaza Strip, and one was in a riot police unit deployed in Sinai. The border guard was a member of the military. The cabdrivers reported that a seventh member of the security forces was also kidnapped; officials were still trying to identify him.
Security officials said the kidnapping was carried out by militant groups who are believed to be hiding in the rugged mountains of North Sinai. Talks were said to be under way for the hostages’ release.