The National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau re-upped its already stringent warning against travel to Sinai in the wake of bombing attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt on Sunday that claimed more than 40 lives and left more than 100 wounded.
The standing warning – not to go to Sinai and to leave immediately if already there – was reiterated at a special meeting of the bureau, reflecting a severe increase in the immediate threat facing Israelis there.
Just two weeks ago the bureau issued its most stringent warning against travel to Sinai.
Sunday’s attack reflects the capabilities of ISIS, which in recent months has intensified its activities in Sinai, a statement from the bureau read. Islamic State claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attack.
In view of the threat, the statement said, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau recommended that Israelis in Sinai leave the area immediately and return to Israel.
It also asked families of Israelis there to contact those relatives and “update them about the immediate threat in Sinai.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the world must unite and fight terrorism everywhere.
He sent a message offering condolences to the families of victims, and wished a speedy recovery to those who were wounded in the attacks.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said the attack was a reminder that Egypt is also under attack by terrorists.
“Alongside the sadness and the mourning, we must unite forces with an iron fist against the axis of evil and terrorism,” she said.