Egypt is currently working with U.S. Embassy officials in order to release 61-year-old Boston pastor Rev. Michael Louis, MSNBC is reporting. Louis was abducted with two others today while on a church trip to the Middle East, retracing Jesus’ steps through the Holly Land, his son said. The other two abducted trip takers were a 39-year-old Boston woman and a tour guide.
Jirmy Abu-Masuh, an Egyptian Bedouin, or person part of a desert-dwelling Arabian ethnic group, is believed to be the captor. He reportedly abducted the three as part of his demands to police to release his uncle from prison. He then vowed to take more hostages of different nationalities if police didn’t meet his demands.
Authorities are reportedly seeking the release of Abu-Masuh’s uncle in exchange for the safe return of the three hostages. He refused to negotiate with tribal Bedouin chiefs until his uncle was released, and only gave officers 24 hours to do so.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy said it was in contact with Egyptian officials as they negotiate to release the hostages, who are being treated as guests. Egypt is “working hard to resolve the situation,” the spokesperson added.
Written by: Karen Benardello