(photo credit: Steve Linde)
Following an urgent call on all Israelis in Sinai to return home immediately and rumors of a kidnapping, the defense establishment reiterated the warning Wednesday, but said that there was no concrete evidence to suggest that an Israeli had been captured in the area.
However, they stressed that the matter was “still being checked,” Army Radio reported.
The National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau reiterated its warning Wednesday that a terrorist cell was on its way to Sinai to kidnap an Israeli and transfer him or her to the Gaza Strip. While officials refused to reveal the cell’s affiliation, they said it was working on behalf of Hamas.
Former OC Southern Command Brig.-Gen. Tzvika Fogel told Army Radio that various terror organizations, like the Islamic Jihad, “are likely to exploit the wide recognition of the Sinai being a hotspot for Israeli vacationers in order to get more ‘Gilad Schalits.’” He said the Sinai beach strip was an “extremely important asset for Egypt,” and that terror groups were operating there on a regular basis in order to “deal a blow to the soft belly of the Egyptian regime.”
Head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, Maj.-Gen.
(res) Amos Gilad, reinforced the travel warning, telling the radio
station Wednesday that it was based on quality intelligence.
not a general warning, but concrete information that points to the
possibility of the kidnapping of an Israeli with the possibility of his
murder and transfer to the Gaza Strip,” he said. “It’s a justifiable
concern for the welfare of Israelis and therefore, the advisory was of
a concrete nature – there’s no need to invent anything in this place.
The danger is severe.”
Tourists, both from Israel and elsewhere, who decided to leave the Sinai continued to arrive at the border Wednesday. Nevertheless, according to police estimates, 550 Israelis were still there.