Many Israelis ignore Sinai warning

Over one thousand Israeis remain in Sinai despite the rupture of the border; Israel fears kidnapping attempts.

sinai 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
sinai 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Some 1,000 Israelis remain in Sinai despite a travel advisory and specific intelligence of plans to abduct Israelis. According to the Israel Airports Authority, which is also responsible for the land crossings, a few thousand people crossed into Sinai over the weekend, despite the hardening of the travel alert. On Friday, the National Security Council's Counterterrorism Division updated its travel alert for Egypt and Sinai due to the deterioration in the situation along the Egyptian- Gazan border. It recommends that all Israelis leave Egypt and makes clear that those who enter the country do so at their own risk. "For a long time now, Sinai has been under a travel warning for Israelis, but as a result of the breaching of the Philadelphi Corridor some serious and concrete threats to abduct Israeli travelers in the area have been received," Brig.-Gen. (res.) Elkana Harnof, the division's intelligence chief, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. "We have tried to minimize the threats in many ways, but unfortunately the efforts did not bear fruit," Harnof said. "Nonetheless, the breaching of the border in the Philadelphi Corridor by the Palestinians created a more serious threat to Israelis in the area, who are in danger of being abducted as bargaining chips between Israel and the PA." Israelis stay in Sinai year round, he said. "These Israelis are either young travelers who stay on the beaches and lose connection with the news here, or gamblers who cross the Taba border to gamble and to exchange currency." Harnof said the Egyptian police were making great efforts to control the situation. "But it is almost impossible to fill the field with security people and to get complete intelligence. I know there are concrete threats and I hope they won't be implemented."