Danger of Terror Attacks in Sinai, Turkey, Security Officials Say

YERUSHALAYIM -
A watchtower of the Egyptian army is seen next to the border area of southern Gaza with Egypt. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90, File)

The National Anti-Terror Bureau on Monday issued an immediate security warning for Israeli tourists in Sinai and Turkey, citing the danger of an “immediate” terror attack by Islamic State and/or al-Qaida terrorists aimed specifically at Israelis. The warning also urged Israelis not to travel to either destination during the upcoming Pesach period.

While such warnings are released on a regular basis, especially for travel to Sinai, Eitan Ben-David, head of the Bureau, said that this year the possibility – or even likelihood – of an attack was greater than in the past. “We will not hesitate to close the border to Sinai for hours or even days if we find concrete information on terror attacks,” he said. “The threat in Sinai is much greater than in the past, as Islamic State operatives are more motivated to carry out such attacks,” seeking victories after they suffered setbacks in Iraq and Syria.

The main areas of danger include Sinai and Turkey. However, the Council urged “extreme caution” for Israelis traveling in Europe; the successful attacks in Belgium and Turkey last month, the warning said, has whetted the appetite of terrorists for more “successes,” and with groups of Israelis set to travel to hotels and resorts throughout Europe for Pesach, the danger was increased significantly.

The Bureau urged Israelis abroad to “be extremely aware of their surroundings. Despite a lack of concrete information about attacks or targets, Israelis, and especially groups, are advised to follow the detailed safety precautions specified by the Council,” which include changing travel or transportation patterns, remaining with the group at all times, and generally keeping a low profile.

Last year, three Israelis were killed and 15 were injured in an attack on a central street in Istanbul several weeks before Pesach, when a suicide bomber set off an explosion near a group of Israeli tourists. Turkish police said that the bomb was set off by a suicide bomber who was trained by IS.