Egypt rejects demands of US tourists' abductor
The Rev. Michel Louis (left) of the Free Pentecostal Church of God in Boston, and Lissa Alphonse of Everett, Mass., were abducted (along with an Egyptian guide) in the Sinai Peninsula. / AP Photo, Family of Rev. Michel Louis; WBZ
(CBS/AP) EL-ARISH, Egypt - Egyptian security officials said they will not give in to demands of a Bedouin man who took two Americans and their local translator hostage in the Sinai Peninsula.
Rev. Michel Louis, an American woman, and their Egyptian guide were taken off a bus on a road between Cairo and Mount Sinai while on a church trip Friday.
CBS Station WBZ has identified the American woman as Lissa Alphonse of Everett, Mass.
The hostage-taker, Jirmy Abu-Masuh, has said he will not free the two Boston natives until his uncle is released from jail. He said his uncle was jailed for refusing to pay the police a bribe.
Abu-Masuh also vowed to take more hostages, of different nationalities, if his demands were not met.
Egyptian officials said Monday they will not release the uncle until he completes a 15-day prison sentence for possession of drugs.
The officials discuss the negotiations on condition of anonymity.
U.S. Embassy spokesman David Linfield said the embassy was looking into the kidnapping and working closely with Egyptian authorities who were doing everything to ensure their safe release.
Abu-Masuh told the Associated Press that two intelligence officials came to his home Saturday to negotiate the captives' release. During that meeting, he said, he relocated the pastor and the two other captives - a 39-year-old Boston woman who was traveling with the same church group and a tour guide. He said he returned the three to his home when the officials left.
Abu-Masuh also told the AP that Louis and Alphonse were being treated as "guests" and given tea, coffee and a traditional lamb dinner.
The 61-year-old Pentecostal pastor, who is diabetic, left his medicine on the bus, and security officials will have to help with getting it, Abu-Mashu said. He said Louis was tired and was sleeping a lot. He would not allow the AP to talk with the Americans.
Abu-Mashu said that his imprisoned uncle is also diabetic, and claimed his relative was not getting the medical assistance he needs.
In Boston Sunday, family and church members prayed for Louis, who was making his annual mission trip to the Holy Land.
"He's been doing it for the past four years now, and this just turned out to be a little different from any other year," said Rev. Jean Louis, who works as a youth pastor at a church founded by his father, the Free Pentecostal Church of God. "He's a diabetic, so we'd like the person that, or the people that have him in captivity, to know that. We're just concerned for his health. But we know that the governments are working very hard negotiating."
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