Israeli Security Officials: Avoid Turkey, Sinai Over Chagim Period

YERUSHALAYIM -
Police forensic experts inspect the area after a suicide bombing in a major shopping and tourist district in central Istanbul, Turkey March 19, 2016. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Police forensic experts inspect the area after a suicide bombing in a major shopping and tourist district in central Istanbul, Turkey, March 19. (Reuters/Huseyin Aldemir)

The National Security Council on Monday has released a terror warning in advance of the chagim season. Topping the list of destinations to avoid are Arab and Muslim countries, including Turkey, the warning says.

The statement on travel warnings said that although there had been a previous warning issued about Turkey, the new statement wishes to “emphasize the warning about travel to Turkey. Terrorist attacks continue in that country, and they threaten tourist areas of the country. Israelis continue to visit Turkey despite our warnings, so again we stress our recommendation against visiting that country. Those who need to be there must take precautions.”

In March, three Israelis were killed in a terror attack in central Istanbul, the statement said. “Even though they were not targeted, Israelis need to be careful that they do not get swept up in terror attacks aimed at the government,” it added.

Sinai is also a dangerous destination for Israelis. The vast majority of Israelis who visit Sinai are Arabs, but their religion or ethnic identity does not make them any safer. “Sinai should be avoided,” the statement said. “The security situation there is terrible, even if areas like Taba appear to be safe. But terror groups have no limitations anywhere in Sinai. Although there is no concrete information about possible attacks, we still recommend avoiding the area.”

As far as Jordan was concerned, the situation was somewhat better, the statement said, and “we are satisfied with the level of security cooperation with that country.” There are numerous travel warnings for African countries as well, the statement added.

Senior defense officials said that Israel was keeping an eye on areas where large numbers of Israeli tourists or Jews will gather over the chagim. Although there were no specific warnings, the officials said that “appropriate steps” should be taken to ensure safety.