Sinai militants release 7 abducted Egyptians

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Seven Egyptian security guards taken hostage while traveling through the Sinai peninsula were freed Wednesday.

The men, who were abducted days ago while riding in minibuses just east of El Arish, did not report any physical injuries. The identities and affiliations of their abductors are still not known, The Associated Press reported.

Egypt’s military spokesman, Col. Ahmed Ali, said in a Facebook posting that “the efforts of military intelligence” combined with aid from local tribal elders led to the freeing of the men, AP said.

The region has become increasingly dangerous in the months since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from office. President Mohammed Morsi had tried to negotiate with the militants who took the Egyptians, AP reported.

Egyptian military officials had swept through the region on Tuesday, in a mission to free their colleagues, AP reported.

Meanwhile, police — angered by the abductions — had closed off the border to crossings with Gaza and Israel, vowing to keep it shut until the captives were freed.

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