ISRAEL issues warning to its citizens to leave Sinai Peninsula area immediately

Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has warned Israelis visiting Sinai of an immediate threat of kidnapping, murder, or injury. The Bureau also warned of Hezbollah terrorist activities in the Egyptian-controlled territory.

The head of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Brigadier-General Nitzan Nuriel, said Tuesday evening that the decision was based on information that a terrorist cell in Sinai intends to abduct Israeli citizens and immediately transfer them to the Gaza Strip, reported the Web site of the Israel Defense force’s spokesperson.

Nuriel also said that the Egyptians were updated on the situation and are making great efforts to thwart any kidnapping. However, he further stressed that “Sinai is a big place and it is not impossible to kidnap Israelis from one of the beaches.”

The Sinai Peninsula used to be a favorite vacation spot for Israelis. In recent years, terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, have increased their activities in the peninsula. The last major attack of such cells was the terrorist bombing in Dahab in 2006 and two terrorist bombings in Taba and Ras As-Satan in 2004.

Since the violent takeover of the Palestinian Gaza Strip by Hamas in 2007, the threat to Israelis in the Sinai has increased. Activists of the Islamic terrorist movement use the Sinai Peninsula to smuggle weapons to Gaza.

The Counter-Terrorism Bureau’s travel advisory gives recommendations based on intelligence. Israelis wishing to go to a certain designation in spite of such warnings are free to do so. Before It’s News

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