‘Close Border with Egypt’
Terror victims group wants government to ban travel to Sinai, as Israelis ignore terror warning
TEL AVIV – The Almagor Terror Victims Association is demanding that the interior and transportation ministers close the border with Egypt in light of warnings regarding terrorists’ plans to stage an attack on Israelis traveling to the Sinai desert.
Just as the government bans Israelis from traveling to Palestinian areas, it should do the same in this case, group Chairman Meir Indor said.
“The border should only be closed to Israeli tourists. If the Egyptians wish to enter Israel, they can go ahead,” he said.
Indor added the severe terror warning issued by the Counter-Terrorism Bureau are akin to an emergency situation.
“A regular citizens doesn’t have the ability to judge such situations,” he said. “Someone in the government should…take the decision to close the border. We need to be wise before and not after the fact.”
However, Foreign Ministry sources told Ynet the proposal is a no-go.
“Closing a border is something that is unacceptable between states and constitutes a violation of the peace agreement,” one official said. “Closing the border is a very negative, extreme measure.”
Israelis Ignore Sinai Terror Warning
About 10,000 people crossed the border into Egypt in recent days, including at least 3,000 in the past 24 hours, despite a Counter-Terrorism Bureau warning urging Israelis to refrain from visiting Egypt due to terror fears.
Taba crossing director Itzik Hai told Ynet the latest warnings did not make an impression on most Israeli travelers.
“I saw maybe five or six youngsters who were at the crossing, got a worried phone call from their parents, and turned around,” he said, and estimated 15,000 Israelis will be crossing the border in the coming days, during the Shavuot holiday.
‘Stay Away from Sinai’
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a stern warning Thursday evening, urging Israelis to refrain from visiting neighboring Egypt, including the Sinai peninsula, a particularly popular travel destination among Israelis.
“Recently, the terror threat on Israel in the Sinai has been aggravated,” the advisory said.
The terror warnings received by authorities apparently refer to beaches familiar to and favored by Israeli travelers.
A senior Counter-Terror Bureau official told Ynet there are several intelligence tips that indicate the potential for a terror attack against Israelis in Sinai is high.
Israelis should “leave Sinai as quickly as possible,” he said. “The risk is too severe.”
Previous Warnings Ignored
Notably, many Israelis chose to ignore previous warnings to refrain from traveling to Egypt, a decision that drew harsh criticism in Israel following a series of terror attacks on Sinai targets that left Israeli tourists dead.
Following the terror strikes, officials considered the imposition of financial sanctions on those who ignore warnings, but a decision on the matter has not yet been taken.