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Egyptian releases German hostages

The four tourists were taken hostage in the Egyptian resort of Luxor
The four tourists were taken hostage in the Egyptian resort of Luxor  

LUXOR, Egypt -- Four German hostages have been freed after their Egyptian kidnapper surrendered to police.

The hostages were unharmed and the kidnapper has been taken into custody after giving up without a struggle, police said.

Ibrahim Ali el-Sayyed Moussa Ali, 45, abducted the German tourists on Monday near the southern resort of Luxor in an attempt to end a child-custody dispute with his German wife.

Before he surrendered, Moussa said he regretted threats he had made to kill the hostages unless his wife brought the couple's two sons back from Germany.

"Frankly, I am sorry about what I've done. But at least a lot of people have heard what I had to say and realised that an injustice has been done to me," Moussa said.

"I am a father. What crime did I commit to be deprived of my children?"

Moussa says he has tried repeatedly to get a visa to see his children -- Kerim, seven, and three-year-old Rami -- but had been told that his wife, Heike Ritter, who won temporary custody in a German court in January, would have to write inviting him to visit.

"I don't object to the mother's custody of the children, I object to a German court deciding the fate of Egyptian children," Moussa said.

"The authorities were afraid I would take the children back to Egypt and keep them there, but all I wanted was access to my children. After all these rejections, I have no choice but to demand nothing less than their return."

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin declined to comment on the hostage-taker's accusations.

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German Federal Government
Egyptian Ministry of Tourism

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