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Tourists detained in Sinai after waving Israeli flags for social media video

Israelis received aid from the embassy and Foreign Ministry following arrest, were released and sent home after two days

Travelers cross through the Taba border crossing during the Jewish holiday of Passover in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, April 17, 2022. (Flash90)
Travelers cross through the Taba border crossing during the Jewish holiday of Passover in the southern Israeli city of Eilat, April 17, 2022. (Flash90)

Two Israelis were arrested in Sinai on Friday, after filming themselves waving Israeli flags for a video on social media, according to reports.

Egyptian security saw the flag waving as a provocation and arrested the Israelis, Channel 12 reported. A source close to the two Israelis, a man and a woman in their 20s, said local police claimed the act was a challenge to Egypt’s sovereignty over the Sinai, according to a report.

The Israelis were detained for two days, during which they received assistance from the embassy and the Foreign Ministry until they were released and returned to Israel, the report said.

Their arrest came as diplomatic relations have warmed between the countries, though Egypt has maintained a chilly public stance.

While Egypt officially has ties with Israel, its government has not encouraged a warm peace with the Jewish state and normalization remains frowned upon there.

In 2020, prominent Egyptian singer and actor Mohamed Ramadan faced a lawsuit after photos emerged of him posing with Israeli celebrities. An Egyptian court ultimately dismissed the case against him, which aimed to prevent him from performing in Egypt.

The arrest of the two Israelis came amid ongoing reports of chaos and tension at the Israel-Egypt border, which has been swamped by tourists.

April marked the first holiday season since Israel’s National Security Council scaled back its travel warning for parts of the Sinai Peninsula for the first time in more than a decade.

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