An Egyptian military intelligence official says that two British tourists in southern Sinai have been freed just hours after their kidnapping.

The official says the British couple is safe and in a security building in Ras Sidr in southern Sinai.

He says the couple was freed after police promised the Bedouin they would release a detained relative who had been arrested and accused of smuggling weapons from Libya to Egypt.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Tourists have been targeted in the past by Bedouin in Sinai wanting to pressure police to free detained relatives. Tourists are typically not held long and released unharmed.