Sinai kidnappers free Egypt security personnel: Army

CAIRO (AFP) - Kidnappers on Wednesday released three Egyptian policemen and four soldiers captured last week in the Sinai peninsula, the army said.

"The seven security personnel have been released by their kidnappers in Sinai," military spokesman Ahmed Aly said in a statement carried by the official Mena agency.

"The seven are on their way to Cairo following their release, which came as a result of efforts by Egyptian military intelligence in coordination with tribal leaders in Sinai," spokesman Aly said.

Egyptian troops and policemen had begun sweeps of north Sinai on Tuesday.

The kidnappers were heavily armed with SAM anti-aircraft missiles and heavy machineguns, interior minister Mohamed Ibrahim said on Tuesday.

He said there were no negotiations with the kidnappers, who were demanding the release of jailed Bedouin militants, but tribal leaders were working to persuade the gunmen to release the hostages.