Two Britons were kidnapped on Thursday by Bedouin tribesmen in Egypt's Sinai but released soon afterwards following negotiations with security officials, police chief Magdi Mussa told AFP.
"They have been released and are heading back to their place of accommodation," Mussa said.
The release follows "intense negotiations" between the kidnappers and security officials, he said.
The British husband and wife were kidnapped from a bank in a town as they headed towards the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the official said.
The kidnappers told reporters they were demanding the release of four people held over arms trafficking.
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State television identified the pair as the head of a petrol company in Egypt and his wife.
The British Foreign Office said it was investigating.
"We're aware of reports about it and are looking into those at the moment to clarify the situation. We would urge restraint ... due to the sensitivity of the incident," a foreign office spokesman told AFP.
Since an uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak last year, the Sinai has grown ever more lawless.
The Bedouin have pressed hard for the release of captive tribesmen they say have been sentenced unfairly on charges ranging from terrorism to drug dealing and people trafficking across the border into Israel.