Egypt: Israeli travel warning an attempt to harm economy

Governor of northern Sinai says area is secure; but security sources in Egyptian peninsula tell Ma'an that terrorists are attempting to attack Israel.

November 13, 2010 11:52
2 minute read.
A Beduin man rides a camel on Sinai beach.

sinai beach camel 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The governor of northern Sinai, outraged by an Israeli travel warning on the Egyptian peninsula issued earlier this week, claimed Saturday that the warning was an attempt to harm the Egyptian economy.

Abdel Fadil Shusha said Saturday morning that the situation in the area was quiet and secure and that Israel has become used to publishing such travel warnings during Egyptian holiday seasons since the 2004 Taba attacks.

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Al-Arabi al-Husseini, leader of the Nuweiba and Taba city council, reported that Israeli tourists were traveling to Sinai despite the warning, and that not a single tourist has left Sinai.

Al-Husseini told Egyptian sources that Sinai's bungalows are currently filled to 70% capacity, and hotels to are filled to 90%. He added that of the tourists staying in Sinai, 40% are Israeli.

The travel warning issued by the Israeli Prime Minister's office on Thursday called on Israelis in Sinai to leave and return to Israel straight away.

The warning quoted "reliable and current intelligence" about a kidnapping plot and called on "all Israelis in Sinai to leave immediately and return to Israel."

Citing credible intelligence, the Israeli Counter-Terror Bureau (CTB) sharpened its advisory against traveling to the Sinai Peninsula also on Thursday evening.

According to the bureau, Israeli intelligence agencies have received information regarding plans by the Army of Islam – a Palestinian terror group affiliated with al Qaida and based in the Gaza Strip – to kidnap Israelis currently vacationing in the Sinai.

Meanwhile, Egypt has stepped up its efforts to catch a cell of seven terrorists that a source in the Egyptian security services said was trying to enter the Gaza Strip in order to carry out attacks on Israel, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported Friday evening.

According to the report, the wanted terrorists are affiliated with the 25 members of a terror cell that Egypt arrested on Thursday.

The Egyptian source raised the possibility that because the terrorists have yet to be located, they may have already entered the Gaza Strip, Ma'an reported.

The seven men sought by Egypt were supposedly in the custody of the country's security services until three months ago when they were released by the Egyptian Interior Ministry. The source said that after their release, they resumed their radical religious activities, set up a new terrorist cell and sought to enter Gaza through smuggling tunnels, according to the report.

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