Two American Female Tourists Kidnapped in Egypt

Two American female tourists have been kidnapped in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula on Friday.

The two tourists were part of a party of five traveling to Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh from St. Catherine's monastery. According to sources, gunmen stopped the bus the group was traveling on and abducted the women for ransom.

The gunmen took all valuables and money from the five passengers before grabbing the two women and fleeing into the mountains.

Security officials told The Associated Press that the abductors were driving a mini van and pickup truck when they kidnapped the tourists. According to the news agency, the three other tourists were left behind, but their nationalities are not known.

It appears as though the kidnappers might be part of the Bedouin group that predominantly live in the isolated region of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The group often complains of mistreatment and discrimination from the central government in Cairo.

The Bedouin recently kidnapped dozens of German and British tourists in the same region also on a tour to the monastery, but released them within hours of abduction. The group has been known to attack police and block assess into the region over their grievances.

The country has been facing a decreasing security situation since the popular Arab Spring uprising ousted former strongman Hosni Mubarak last year. Many grievances in Egypt have yet to be adequately addressed and protests continue to hamper democratic progression. Minority groups, including Christians, have faced increased discrimination and targeted violence.

A search to locate the two American tourists is underway with two army and police search parties having disseminated into the area to try to locate the tourists. A helicopter is leading the search and rescue mission, according to authorities.