Tunisia rebuffs claim of terror threat against Israelis
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Tunisia rebuffs claim of terror threat against Israelis

Official in Interior Ministry says no knowledge of plan to attack Jews on pilgrimage after Jerusalem warns citizens not to visit North African country

Tunisian Jewish youngsters chat on May 16, 2014 in the Hara Kebira district on the Tunisian island of Djerba, the site of an annual pilgrimage. (photo credit: Fethi Belaid/AFP)
Tunisian Jewish youngsters chat on May 16, 2014 in the Hara Kebira district on the Tunisian island of Djerba, the site of an annual pilgrimage. (photo credit: Fethi Belaid/AFP)

Tunis rejected a warning for Israeli and Jewish visitors to stay away from the country issued by Jerusalem, saying there was no terror threat.

Israeli officials warned citizens Saturday night to stay away from Tunisia, citing “concrete threats” of terror attacks against Jewish or Israeli targets in the country.

But an official in the Tunisian Interior Ministry, who asked not to be named, told AFP Sunday morning: “We have nothing on that. There are no threats.”

Earlier, Israel’s anti-terror authority warned it had learned of plans for an attack on visitors during the upcoming Lag Ba’Omer holiday.

Entrance to the 2,000-year-old Djerba synagogue (photo credit: CC BY upyernoz/Flikr)
The entrance to the 2,000-year-old Djerba synagogue (photo credit: CC BY upyernoz/Flikr)

“Information indicates that there are plans for terrorist attacks against Israelis and/or Jews in Tunisia,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

Jews of Tunisian descent were planning a pilgrimage to the island of Djerba, off the coast of Tunisia, for later this week to celebrate the holiday, which marks the death of a mystical second-century rabbi.

The statement warned that the terror plots were centered on Israelis and Jews traveling there for the holiday.

A French Jew, Bebert Zouili, attends the annual Jewish pilgrimage in the resort of Djerba, Tunisia, in the Ghriba synagogue, the oldest Jewish monument built in Africa more than 2,500 years ago, Friday April 26, 2013. (photo credit: AP Photo/Aimen Zine)
A French Jew, Bebert Zouili, attends the annual Jewish pilgrimage in the resort of Djerba, Tunisia, in the Ghriba synagogue, the oldest Jewish monument built in Africa more than 2,500 years ago, Friday April 26, 2013. (photo credit: AP Photo/Aimen Zine)

There are around 1,000 Jews remaining in Tunisia. An al-Qaeda attack on the synagogue in Djerba in 2002 left 21 dead.

The statement said travel to the country was under a “high concrete threat,” the second highest level of warning issued by Israel.

A worldwide travel warning issued by Jerusalem’s anti-terror department in late March also cautioned against travel to Tunisia, among other countries, citing the same “high concrete threat.”

Tunisia has in recent months witnessed a growing number of attacks by Islamist extremists.

Islamist terrorists attacked a museum in Tunis in March, killing 22 people, mainly foreigners. Two gunmen were killed in the attack.

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