The counterterrorism bureau on Saturday warned Israeli citizens to leave Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula immediately, citing “concrete evidence” that terrorists are planning attacks against them. A government spokesman said the attack is intended to take place within days.
The travel advisory asked Israelis planning to travel to Sinai not to go — and called on families to contact relatives who are currently there to try to bring them back to Israel.
A senior Egyptian official dismissed the reports as rumors. The governor of South Sinai Khaled Foda said Saturday that every time there is a rise in tourism in Sinai, Israel releases reports of danger in the region which hurt the industry.
Israel has issued travel warnings for Sinai before. But the security warnings and travel notices have increased since Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011 and lawlessness among Bedouin tribes has increased. Since August, when terrorists crossed into southern Israel from Sinai and killed eight Israelis, the IDF has been monitoring the Egyptian border closely.
Sinai, located along the Red Sea, is known for its diverse underwater life and beautiful beaches. It is a popular tourist destination for Israelis and foreigners.
Also on Saturday, Egyptian forces detained an officer suspected of helping to smuggle weapons from Libya to the Gaza Strip.
Israel confirmed Thursday that rockets fired at the southern city of Eilat in early April were smuggled out of Libya into Gaza. They were fired from Sinai by the Popular Resistance Committees that are based in Gaza, according to Shin Bet. They are believed to have been smuggled out after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.