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Freed American: Egyptian kidnappers 'were very nice'

AP

Two American women, names not available, are seen after their release by gunmen in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, late Friday, Feb. 3, 2012.

CAIRO -- An American held hostage in Egypt told NBC News on Friday that she was “not at all afraid” of the Bedouin tribesmen who captured her and two others and that she planned to carry on with her travels in the Middle East.

"They were very nice. I was not at all afraid,” said the woman, who requested she only be identified by her initials E.P. The woman spoke briefly on the telephone shortly after her release. She had been held captive for several hours.


“They kept on reassuring us that we will be fine. ... They treated us like family,” she said.

The American woman was with five other people in a tour group on the way from St. Catherine's Monastery on the Sinai Peninsula to the very popular Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh when their minibus was stopped by the armed Bedouin.

Read earlier stories on the kidnapping on msnbc.com 

The kidnappers left behind three people, but took the woman, another American female tourist and their Egyptian tour guide. Police said the tribesmen had abducted the party in exchange for release of 33 Bedouin prisoners.

After negotiations with government officials, the Bedouin released the hostages to military officers rather than to the police, who are often mistrusted by the Bedouin tribesmen.

Since their release, the American woman said, the governor of South Sinai had invited the Americans for dinner and accompanied them on a drive to Sharm el Sheikh, where they have been housed, at the government's expense, in a luxury hotel.

Their trip also was to include Cairo to visit the Great Pyramids and Alexandria. She said she intends to keep to her travel itinerary, despite the interruption.

“I am not afraid to continue the tour," she said. "I am very much ready to continue, and I will continue to bring tourists to Egypt and Jordan."

Two Americans who were taken hostage in Egypt have been released. NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin reports.

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