The National Security Council warned Israeli tourists against visiting the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and a list of other countries, citing threats by Iran and ISIS, as international tourism begins to resume activity amid vaccination campaigns around the world.
The NSC pointed to recent threats by Iranian officials, as well as the targeting of the Israeli embassy in New Delhi in January, stressing that Iran was expected to continue efforts to hit Israeli targets.
The warning listed Georgia, Azerbaijan, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt among a list of countries it recommended avoiding due to their having a high likelihood of being targets of an Iranian attack.
Iran allegedly attempted to target Israeli, American and Emirati embassies in Africa in February, with a specific attempt to strike the UAE Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which was thwarted by security forces, according to The New York Times. Iran denied the report.
The plot was reportedly meant to serve as revenge for the US assassination of former Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and the alleged Israeli assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Israel has not officially confirmed its involvement in the assassinations.
Tensions remain high in the region in the aftermath of the assassinations of Soleimani and Fakhrizadeh, as well as concerns that the US may return to the nuclear deal with Iran. A number of incidents in which Israel alleged that Iran targeted Israeli maritime vessels and conversely that Iran alleged Israel targeted Iranian vessels have also been reported in the past month.
The alert also pointed to ISIS threats around the world, with an emphasis on Mali, Burkina Faso, central Africa, the Sinai Peninsula, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kashmir in India and the southern Philippines. The NSC added that the global jihadist could still attack Western countries as well and stressed that its leaders have made explicit calls to specifically strike Israelis.
Earlier this month, leader of the ISIS terrorist organization in the Sinai Peninsula, Salim Salma Said Mahmoud al-Hamadin, was killed during clashes with Bedouin and Egyptian forces near Al-Barth, south of Rafah and near the border with Israel, according to Arabic media.
Hamadin, referred to as the "most dangerous and oldest of the takfiri elements in the Sinai," was responsible for the murder of hundreds of civilians and Egyptian soldiers, according to the reports. "Takfiri" is a word often used to refer to armed extremist groups, but originally referred to Muslim apostates or infidels.
"We call on the public planning to visit abroad to check the status of the travel warning for their selected destination, before purchasing tickets," wrote the NSC.
"The threat to Israelis in the Sinai is from ISIS and also from Iran - which can harm Israelis vacationing on the shores of the Sinai by the sea," said Nitzan Nuriel, former director of the Counter Terrorism Bureau in the Prime Minister's Office, to KAN news. "The warning there is the highest and calls not to travel, and for those who are there - to leave immediately."
Nuriel added that research conducted by his office found that most of the Israeli public listens to travel warnings, except for youth after the army and businessmen.