Egyptian policemen at the country’s main crossing point into the Gaza Strip have closed the border on their own initiative to protest the abduction of their colleagues, according to an Egyptian military official.

The official said on Friday that the guards will keep the border closed until four of their colleagues, who were abducted in the Sinai Peninsula on Thursday along with three others, are freed. He spoke anonymously according to the rules.

Authorities believe the kidnappers are militants who acted after another militant was alleged to have been tortured in prison. Officials have said negotiations with the kidnappers are underway.

Gaza’s Interior Ministry confirmed the closure in a statement. Sinai militants are believed to have contact with other groups in the coastal territory.

More In: World | International | News