Egyptian Bedouins on Tuesday captured 25 Chinese workers in Sinai to demand the release of relatives detained over bombings in the peninsula between 2004 and 2006, a security official said.
The Chinese nationals, technicians and engineers who work for a military-owned cement factory in the Lehfen area of central Sinai, were abducted on their way to work, the official said.
"The Chinese will not be released until our demands our met," one Bedouin protester told AFP.
The protesters are demanding the release of five Bedouins held in connection with an attack on the tourist resort of Taba in 2004.
They say the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power last year when a popular uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak, has repeatedly promised to release the Bedouins.
The Chinese are currently being held in a tent in Lehfen, where protesters have been blocking the highway to northeast Sinai for three days, the Bedouins said.
A security official said authorities were in talks with Bedouin elders to try to resolve the issue.
The major Red Sea beach resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Taba and Dahab all witnessed bloody attacks between 2004 and 2006 which killed a total of 130 people.
The attacks were claimed by a previously unknown group calling itself Al Tawhid Wal Jihad, and dealt a major blow to the tourism industry, one of the country's highest sources of foreign income.