Egyptian Ambassador Mahmoud Ouf denied Wednesday that 73 Egyptians had been abducted in Syria.
He said that Syrian, Egyptian and Jordanian gangsters helped them to sneak into Syria and Jordan in a step to illegally immigrate into Turkey or Italy.
The Egyptians, Ouf said, have been held in an immigration prison since June 6, where they are being interrogated by the Syrian authorities.
The local press reported earlier that 62 young Egyptian men had been held hostage by gamesters in Syria in return for ransoms, while other media reports said the number was 95.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian independent al-Masry al-Youm newspaper quoted the father of one of the hostages as saying his son and his colleagues went to work in Jordan where a Jordanian convinced him to travel to Italy.
The father added that after his son had travelled to Syria, he and the others had been taken hostage by a gang, who requested ransoms from their families.
The father, who also appeared on the Satellite programme al-Ashera masa'an on the Dream 2 TV Channel said that his son had managed to hide a mobile phone and informed his family of where he was.
The father said that he transacted the 1,700 dollars the gang requested. After the transaction, a gang member called him and said he would release his son in Lebanon within days.
The father said that he had not heard from his son since then and that the fate of his son and the other 61 hostages was unknown.
Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2007, 17:53