Israel issues series of travel warnings ahead of Passover


The Counterterrorism Bureau in Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office has issued a series of travel advisories this week, ahead of the upcoming Passover holiday.

“The travel advisories are based on solid and reliable information reflecting concrete threats based on the current intelligence picture,” the bureau’s website said.

It advised Israelis against traveling to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula during the seven days of Passover and urged those already there to leave the area immediately. The bureau said there is a “Level 1, high, concrete risk” of terrorist attacks in Sinai from Islamic State’s operations in the area. Sinai was previously a popular tourist destination for Israelis.

The desert peninsula remains a vastly popular destination for Israelis, who often travel there despite the bureau’s warnings. This has sparked a public debate in recent years as to whether in the event of an attack the state should be responsible for those who travel there despite the warnings.

Southern Thailand was also labeled as having a “Level 1, high, concrete risk” of terrorist attacks. Israelis were urged to leave the area without delay and avoid traveling there during the holiday. Many young Israeli backpackers visit and attend a huge seder in Bangkok sponsored by Chabad.

A travel advisory was also issued for Turkey, with a “Level 2, concrete risk” warning.

According to the bureau’s website, “Israelis are advised to avoid visiting the country and those who are there should leave as soon as possible. Israeli tourists currently in Turkey are advised to refrain from visiting crowded tourist attractions and must obey the instructions of local security officials.”

Jordan was listed as having a “Level 3, concrete risk.” Israelis were advised to avoid visiting it at this time.

“The past year has seen a decrease in the number of terrorist attacks carried out by Islamic State, given the blows it has suffered in its major spheres [Iraq and Syria], and the significant improvement in local intelligence and security efforts,” the advisory said. “Nevertheless, it is clear that Al Qaeda is trying to exploit the collapse of the Islamic State group to reclaim its position and expand its base, especially in the West, although it is struggling to accomplish this goal. We reiterate that targeting Israel, Israelis and Jews around the world remains a primary objective for Al Qaeda.

“Given the risk posed by lone terrorists or local terrorist infrastructure, we seek to underscore the need to be vigilant while visiting crowded locations, especially sites that are known as terror targets, including tourist attractions, sports stadiums, cultural sites such as museums, shopping and entertainment centers, hotels, airports, places of worship [churches, synagogues and mosques] and mass events.”



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