NSC issues reminder to Israelis: Stay out of Iraq

Israelis should both stay away from and get out of Iraq, The National Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Division said Tuesday, in light of what it said was the increasing number of Israelis visiting the war-battered country. The Counter Terrorism Division issued the following statement: "In light of the increasing number of Israelis visiting Iraq and given the severity of the threats to them there, the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Division wishes to remind the Israeli public that : A) Visiting Iraq is very dangerous; the lives of Israelis in Iraq are at tangible risk; and B) Israel law bans Israeli citizens from visiting Iraq; visiting Iraq is a criminal offense." Counter Terrorism Division official Elkana Har Nof said that the decision to reissue this warning was made now because it has come to the council's attention that there are "dozens" of Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, currently in Iraq on business. He said that the Israelis there were "putting their lives at risk." Har Nof said that there were only one or two cases that he was aware of in which Israelis had gone there "in search of their roots." He said there "are many ways" for Israelis to get into Iraq, with some of them using foreign passports to enter the country, and others going overland through countries like Turkey.