14 April 2010
In an unusually strong warning, Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has urged Israeli citizens currently on the Sinai peninsula to immediately return to Israel, citing "concrete evidence of an expected terrorist attempt to kidnap Israelis in Sinai." The statement also urged families of Israelis visiting the Sinai to establish contact with them. Brigadier-General Nitzan Nuriel, the commander of the bureau, which is attached to the Office of the Prime Minister, acknowledged that there had been rumors that Israelis have been kidnapped in the Sinai. "We don't work according to rumors. We work according to firm intelligence,” he said on Israeli television. "It is very possible that at this moment, there is a terror cell that has the intention and has a plan in operation to kidnap an Israeli and bring him to Gaza," he warned.
Nuriel said the kidnappers were likely to strike along the Red Sea coast, a favorite vacation spot for Israelis. "Sinai is a big place," he said, "and it is not impossible to kidnap an Israeli from one of the beaches in the present circumstances." Nuriel told another TV station that about 1,200 Israelis were believed to be in the Sinai right now.
Egyptian police have so far not been informed of any missing Israelis, according to AP.
Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau has a standing travel advisory telling Israelis to stay out of the Sinai desert because of the threat of terror attacks. However, many Israelis routinely ignore the warning and vacation in the desert as well as in the resorts along its Red Sea coast.
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