Israeli assessment: Threat level not up post-bin Laden hit

US issues "worldwide caution" urging Americans to be vigilant while traveling, but Israel does not raise existing high alert status.

May 2, 2011 15:22
2 minute read.
IDF soldiers near the Gaza border

IDF soldiers near Gaza border 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)


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The defense establishment held a number of security consultations on Monday to assess the threat level against Israel and possible security implications the death of Osama Bin Laden could have on Israeli missions overseas.

A senior security official said Monday that for the time being Israel was not altering any of its existing travel advisories. The defense establishment has been on high alert for several months already due to concerns that Hezbollah is planning an imminent attack against an Israeli target overseas to avenge the 2008 assassination of its military commander Imad Mughniyeh.

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Following Bin Laden’s death, the US State Department issued an urgent “Worldwide Caution” in which it urged US citizens to maintain a high level of vigilance when traveling overseas. The caution warns specifically of al Qaida plans to attack US and European interests in Europe as well as US interests in North Africa and the Middle East.

“Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East,” the State Department caution read. “These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings. “

The current assessment in Israel is that it is possible that terrorist organizations, possibly Global Jihad-like groups based in the Gaza Strip which are known to be ideologically affiliated with al Qaida – could use the death of Bin Laden as an excuse to increase terrorist activity against Israel.

Other al Qaida-affiliated groups are believed to also operate in the Sinai Peninsula as well as in southern Lebanon. In the past, some of these groups have been responsible for firing Katyusha rockets into Israel.

Two weeks ago, Israeli security officials said that security was stepped up at potential Jewish and Israeli targets overseas and named Hezbollah operative Talal Hamia as the commander of a small but well-organized terror cell that had been tasked by the Iranian-backed guerilla group with carrying out the attack.

Hamia is alleged to have been involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires that targeted the Israeli Embassy and the AMIA Jewish community center.

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