Terror Warnings in Sinai, Israelis Asked Not to Travel|
by Hillel Fendel
11 Nissan 5768, 16 April 08 03:20
(IsraelNN.com) Amidst very concrete warnings of likely terrorist attacks in Egypt's Sinai Desert, Israelis have been asked to stay away. The Egyptian security forces are reported to be searching for an armed group of terrorists traveling in a convoy of four pick-up trucks.
An Egyptian source reported that national forces have stepped up their alertness and have added checkpoints throughout the peninsula.
It is estimated that hundreds of Israelis are now in the Sinai, significantly fewer than at other times in the past. In addition, travel agencies report a lower demand than expected for trips to Sinai for the upcoming Passover holiday. However, it is still feared that the numbers of Israeli tourists to the Sinai will increase in the coming days.
Close the Border Crossing?
An Israeli government official called strongly for Israelis to stay home, but said that closing the border with Egypt to Israeli travelers would be a violation of the peace treaty with Israel.
MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) said this is ridiculous. "The government has the right to prevent entry to any area in which there is great danger," he said, "and it is therefore appropriate to do the same regarding the Sinai, until the danger passes."
Shteinitz further said that citizens who enter the Sinai despite the terror warnings "should have to deposit a sum of money to cover the government's expenses in case they are kidnapped, as the terrorists threaten. Those who decide to ignore the warnings and take this risk are not only endangering themselves, but also the rest of us who must invest time and effort, and possibly the release of terrorists, in order to achieve their freedom in the event that they are kidnapped."
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) similarly said, "Instead of just calling on Israelis not to travel to the Sinai and then having to deal with victims or hostages, the Israel Police must set up a blockade north of the Taba border crossing and prevent Israelis from traveling towards the border. This will obviate any problems of treaty violations with Egypt but will still protect Israeli citizens from themselves."
The Sinai Desert, a popular vacation spot for young Israelis, has frequently been the site of attempted and successful terrorist attacks. In October 2004, 34 people, including 13 Israelis, were killed in a series of attacks targeting the Hilton Hotel in Taba and campsites used by Israelis further to the south.
A year later, 88 people (one Israeli) were killed in several bombing attacks in the southern Sinai city of Sharm el-Sheikh, and in April 2006, over 20 people (no Israelis) were killed in bombings in the resort town of Dahab.
In August 2006, a bus overturned in the Sinai, killing 11 Israeli-Arab passengers. Many of the injured reported that the driver purposely crashed the bus, after having made derogatory and threatening remarks against them.
Just last week, the Egyptian security forces found a car bomb bound for a tourist site in the Sinai, according to the Egyptian-government controlled Al Ahram newspaper. Another apparent car-bomb escaped, however.
Original article: Israel Naional News
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