CAIRO, Egypt (CNN)Â — Some of the 11 European tourists and their Egyptian guides kidnapped 10 days ago and released unharmed Monday have left an Egyptian hospital and are headed home, officials said.
A picture from television footage of the hostages landing at an Egyptian military base.
Most of the five Germans, five Italians and one Romanian will have left the country by Tuesday, said Egyptian Tourism Ministry spokeswoman Omayma el-Huseini.
They were shown on Egyptian TV on Monday arriving at a military base near the capital, Cairo. Some clutched bouquets of flowers as they stepped off a military aircraft.
They were taken to Maadi Military Hospital for a checkup, but the Ministry of Tourism said earlier the tourists were “all in good shape and health.”
Egyptian TV, quoted Defense Minister Hussein Tantawi as telling President Hosni Mubarak that half of the kidnappers were dead.
The Sudanese news agency, SUNA, cited armed forces spokesman Brig. Osman Mohamed Al-Aghabash as saying that six kidnappers were killed Sunday and two were captured at a roadblock.
The hostages were released after a coordinated operation between Egyptian and Sudanese forces, SUNA quoted the spokesman of the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.
The operation began Sunday, when Sudanese troops stopped some of the abductors at the roadblock, said the spokesman, Ali Yousif. SUNA did not say where the operation occurred.Â Â Watch more on the hostages’ release Â»
The kidnappers, Yousif said, were Sudanese and Chadians, and a document found with the abductors showed they belong to Sudan Liberation Movement.
“The only thing everyone knows for sure right now is that there was no ransom paid for the rescue of the tourists,” said Egyptian Tourism Minister Zoheir Garana. “No ransom was paid by any country.”
The group of 11 Europeans and eight Egyptians was taken in Wadi al-Gadid — about 250 miles (400 km) west of the southern Egyptian city of Aswan. They were traveling in four jeeps and were apparently taken to nearby Sudan.
The tourists included five Germans, five Italians and one Romanian, according to Magdy Rady, spokesman for the Egyptian prime minister. He identified the eight Egyptians as four drivers employed for a safari company, the owner of the company, and a security detail assigned to accompany the group.
Here’s the story from Al Jizz:
|Kidnapped Egypt tourists freed|
All 19 hostages, who were abducted by armed men in a remote border area of Egypt more than a week ago, have been freed and are in good health, state-run Egyptian television has said.
Reports of the release on MondayÂ came a day afterÂ Sudan said its forces had killed six of the kidnappers in a remote desert in southern Egypt.
Egyptian television said that all of the hostages, 11 western tourists and eight Egyptians, were on their way back to Cairo.
The Italian foreign ministry has also confirmed the news of the release.
Amr El-Kahky, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Cairo, said: “We’re told the [former] hostages are safe and sound and that half of the kidnappers, according to the [Egyptian] denfence minister, have been ‘liqidated’.”
On Sunday, Mahjoub Fadl Badri, a Sudanese presidential adviser, said that Sudanese troops had pursued the kidnappers and killed them in a gun battle.
A Sudanese soldier was also injured in the clash.
Earlier an official had said the 19 hostages, who were snatched at gunpoint during a desert safari on September 19, were “all well” and appeared to be moving from Sudan towards Egypt.
The hostages included five Italians, five Germans, one Romanian and eight Egyptians.
AnÂ Egyptian security official was reported as saying that the kidnappers and German negotiators had agreed a deal but that “negotiations were still ongoing to work out details”.
The kidnappers had reportedly demanded up to $15m in ransom for releasing the hostages. Egypt’s state television quoted an official as saying no ransom had been paid.