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Rebels abduct eight tourists in Colombia

By Associated Press
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2003

BOGOTA, Colombia - Eight foreign tourists have been kidnapped by a leftist rebels in a mountainous region of northern Colombia, authorities said Sunday.

Four Israelis, two Britons, one German and a Spaniard were seized late Friday in the Sierra Nevada mountains, about 465 miles north of the capital, Bogota, according to the Associated Press, citing a senior government official.

AP also reported that an Israeli Embassy spokesman said the embassy had been formally notified by Colombia authorities that its nationals were among those held. The British Embassy declined immediate comment, while phones rang unanswered at the German Embassy.

The kidnappers are believed to be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, which has been fighting for nearly four decades to overthrow the government, the government official said.

The eight were part of a larger group of 15 tourists that earlier had split in two. The others were all safe, the official added.

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