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Soldiers Search for 8 Taken in Colombia

In an operation closely monitored by President Álvaro Uribe, hundreds of troops swarmed today over a coastal mountain range in northern Colombia searching for eight foreign tourists who were kidnapped on Friday. The kidnapping, believed to have been carried out by the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, prompted authorities to mobilize 1,500 soldiers and nine helicopters to scour the 19,000-foot Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta range. The tourists — two Britons, four Israelis, a Spaniard and a German — had been on a trek to the Lost City, pre-Columbian ruins located deep in the forests leading up the mountain. On Friday morning, rebels awakened 13 tourists at an isolated camp and carried off 8 of them. Mark Tuite, an Australian who was among those not taken, said the rebels probably took the eight because they were fit and wearing sturdy shoes, instead of sandals. He and his wife, Michelle Watkins, also Australian, an Israeli couple and one tourist from the Netherlands later made their way down the mountain. Full Story

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