The gunmen forced the women into their vehicle and fled into the mountains, security officials said.
SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt -- Two American tourists were kidnapped Friday in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula by Bedouin tribesmen, security sources said.
A group of masked gunmen held up a tourist bus in south Sinai, snatching the two Americans, both women, and their guide before taking off, AFP reported.
The tourists were among a group traveling from St. Catherine's Monastery, at the foot of Mount Sinai, to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, NBC News reported.
Bedouin sources said the kidnappers were demanding the release of relatives held in Egyptian jails, AFP reported.
A military plane was deployed to the area as a search operation started, state TV said.
The kidnapping took place just days after Bedouins in north Sinai briefly seized 25 Chinese workers to demand the release of Islamist relatives detained over bombings in the peninsula between 2004 and 2006, AFP reported.
A French tourist was killed during a shooting in Sharm el Sheikh last weekend, raising concerns over security in the popular resort area.
The incident comes amid a time of unrest in post-revolution Egypt, following the deaths of 71 people at a soccer game in the north of the country this week.
A group of American citizens have sought refuge at the US embassy in Cairo in the midst of an Egyptian government crackdown against US democracy and rights organizations.
Sam LaHood, the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is among a group of US citizens working in Egypt who were told they cannot leave the country.
Three young Americans were held in Cairo last November on suspicion of throwing Molotov cocktails at security forces during demonstrations.