President Mohammed Morsi sent dozens of armored vehicles into Sinai on Monday, in response to a video released over the weekend in which seven Egyptians kidnapped by militants begged for their freedom.
The militants — their affiliation was not named in The Times of Israel report — say they want 20 prisoners who were arrested and jailed by Egyptian authorities over the past two years for a bank attack to be released. In exchange, they'll free the kidnapped seven — six of whom are policemen and the seventh, a border guard.
Mr. Morsi said he's keeping all options open to win the men's freedom, and in the meantime sent in 17 military tanks and more than 20 police armored vehicles to the northern Sinai region. It wasn't clear if the tanks were part of a planned rescue operation, the Times of Israel said.
The video of the seven men, posted on the Internet, included statements from the prisoners to Egyptian authorities: Please agree to a prisoner exchange to save us from "unbearable torture," the Times of Israel said.
The seven were kidnapped last Thursday, near the border with Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported that the men were riding in taxis when they were stopped and abducted by militants.
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