Abducted Western tourists freed
The group were seized in the remote Gilf al-Kebir area
A group of Western tourists and their Egyptian guides, who were kidnapped 10 days ago by gunmen, have been freed.
The 11 hostages - five Italians, five Germans and a Romanian - and their guides are said to be in good health.
The group, abducted in a remote border region of Egypt, are now en route to a military base in the capital, Cairo.
During their captivity they were moved around a lawless desert area straddling Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Chad. No ransom was paid, Egyptian officials said.
German officials had been negotiating with the kidnappers, who were demanding a ransom of $8.8m (£4.9m).
The freeing of the Westerners was reported on Egyptian state television and confirmed by Italian officials.
Few details were given on the circumstances of their release, but Egypt's defence minister said that half of hostage-takers had been "eliminated".
Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said the freeing of the group was the result of international co-operation. "We have to be really grateful to the authorities of other countries that have been working with us," he added.
The BBC's Christian Fraser, in Cairo, says Egypt's tourism minister will be relieved.
The abductees had been touring in an area well off the beaten track but a messy end to this crisis would not have been good for the health of the Egyptian economy, our correspondent says.
The breakthrough comes a day after Sudanese troops clashed with alleged kidnappers in northern Sudan, killing six gunmen. Another two were taken into custody.
The two suspects claimed the tourists were in Chad but their exact whereabouts at the time of rescue remains unclear. Chad denied the group was within its borders.
In a statement, the military said the vehicle of the hostage-takers was full of weapons and documents detailing how the ransom should have been paid.
Other documents found inside led the army to believe a faction of the Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army was involved in the kidnapping.
None of Darfur's numerous rebel groups have said they were linked to the kidnappings.
Other reports said the abduction, near the Gilf al-Kebir plateau, was carried out by tribesmen or bandits operating in the area.