Security officials urging Israeli tourists to immediately leave the Sinai

According to the report, around 30,000 Israelis have traveled there for the Passover break - and according to Globes, over 85,000 people will pass through the Taba border.

April 23, 2019 13:10
1 minute read.
EGYPTIAN AND ISRAELI flags flutter next to each other at the Taba border crossing.

EGYPTIAN AND ISRAELI flags flutter next to each other at the Taba border crossing.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Senior security officials are calling upon Israelis and Passover travelers, who defied the anti-terrorism warning not to go to the Sinai, to leave immediately, Army Radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, around 30,000 Israelis have traveled there for the Passover break - and according to Globes over 85,000 people will pass through the Taba border, in both directions. This number is over 20% higher than the previous year.
Two years prior, just before the onset of Passover, the border crossing was closed before the holiday due to the "intensifying activities" of Islamic State, according to a release from the Prime Minister's Office at that time.

The closing was due to simultaneous suicide bombings a couple of weeks earlier, one at St. George's Church and the other at Saint Mark's Coptic Church, both in Egypt - where over 100 people were killed and over 40 were injured.

The Taba Border Crossing serves as the only crossing between Israel and Egypt that handles tourists. It was opened in 1982, three years after the peace treaty was signed between then-prime minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.

In 2004, Israeli tourism numbers dropped dramatically after terrorist bombings occurred in three resorts in the peninsula. At the Hilton in Taba, and Moon Island and Badiya at Ras Shaitan, 34 people were killed, 12 of them Israelis.

It’s been almost 17 years since the last serious terrorist attack took place in northern Sinai against tourists, and many Israelis are once again vacationing on the peninsula’s pristine beaches.

The most recent attack on tourists in Egypt was when two Vietnamese tourists were killed and 12 people were injured when a bomb blast hit their bus less than four km. (2.5 miles) from the world famous Giza pyramids, authorities said.

Ten of the injured were Vietnamese tourists and two were Egyptians - the driver and a tour guide, an Interior Ministry statement said.

Laura Kelly and Mor Shimoni contributed to this report.

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