The National Security Council's counterterrorism bureau issued a travel advisory on Saturday, calling on Israelis currently in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to immediately leave the area and return to Israel.
While a travel advisory against traveling to Sinai has been in place for months, the counterterrorism bureau issued the warning Saturday in the wake of intelligence information pointing to a plot to harm Israelis vacationing in the area in the immediate future.
The counterterrorism bureau called on the families of Israelis in Sinai to contact their loved ones and inform them of the travel advisory. The travel advisory also called on Israelis planning on traveling to Sinai to avoid entering the peninsula.
Egyptian security forces have lost control of the peninsula since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak last year. Extremist elements who have gained a foothold in Sinai have kidnapped foreign nationals, ambushed police forces and sabotaged the pipeline which delivers natural gas to Jordan and Israel repeatedly since Mubarak was ousted.
After a Katyusha rocket was fired from the peninsula into the southern city of Eilat earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that Sinai “has become a terrorism zone."
Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi revealed that the IDF had thwarted 10 different terrorist plots to attack the country from Sinai in the past two months.
The IDF has been closely tracking Palestinian terrorist activity in Sinai since an attack along the Egyptian border in August left eight Israelis dead.
Even prior to Mubarak's fall in February 2011, travel advisories issued in the wake of intelligence about kidnapping and terror plots against Israelis in Sinai were not uncommon. The peninsula is a popular vacation destination for Israelis, however the limited control exercised by Egyptian security forces in the area has commonly made it the focus of efforts by terrorists to harm Israelis abroad.
Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.
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