(photo credit: Steve Linde)
A number of terrorist cells operating in Sinai plan to kidnap visiting Israelis,
security officials warned on Thursday ahead of Pessah.
The warning, they
said, was based on concrete intelligence information indicating that Hamas and
other terrorist groups were trying to abduct Israelis, transfer them to the Gaza
Strip and use them as bargaining chips in potential prisoner
Shin Bet nabs Hamas terror cell planning kidnappings
Hamas warns of 'consequences' after Gaza air strike
“Ammunition depots in Libya and Yemen have been broken into, and
this weaponry could make it into the hands of terrorist organizations,” one
senior security official said. “The instability in the region helps terrorist
Israel, the official said, was particularly concerned by the
situation in Sinai, where the Egyptian police and military were having
difficulty restoring law and order following the recent revolution.
week, the Israel Air Force bombed a car in the southern Gaza Strip
number of senior Hamas operatives who were planning attacks of this
According to the official, though, there are already terrorists in
Sinai planning to carry out the attacks, and they likely now have greater
motivation now that some of their cell members were killed by Israel.
official said that Egyptian authorities were working to restore control over
Sinai but that it was “low on their agenda” due to the country-wide
About 150 Israelis cross into Sinai each week, most of them
Arabs who vacation in Sharm e-Sheikh, the official said. “Israeli-Arabs think
they are immune but they are not and could also be targeted in a future attack,”
The official also warned of a growing phenomenon of Israelis of
Iraqi descent traveling to Iraq on “heritage tours.”
The official said
that it is illegal for Israelis to visit Iraq and that the Counter-Terrorism
Bureau was coordinating with police and the Foreign Ministry to bring charges
against Israelis who take those trips.
In addition, he said, that there
was a constant threat of kidnappings within Israel by terrorist organizations
based in the West Bank.