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Travel Warning Following Ecuador Unrest

Israel issues a travel warning after rebels in Ecuador shut down airport, temporarily hold president hostage.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/1/2010, 12:29 PM / Last Update: 10/1/2010, 1:04 PM

South American leaders condemned what they described as an attempted coup in Ecuador on Thursday. Protesting police officers took to the streets, shut down an airport, and kidnapped President Rafael Correa over a law that they said would cut their pay.

Ecuadorian troops stormed the hospital in which the president was held and freed him. At least two police officers were killed in the operation.

Correa said the law that allegedly caused police anger did not cut compensation bonuses as claimed. After his rescue, he stated again that the law would not be repealed. He accused his political opponents of spreading misinformation about the law.

He termed the events an attempted coup, and condemned police rebels, describing their actions as “like a knife in my back.” He was sent messages of support from the United States as well as from South American nations.

In light of the events, Israel's Foreign Ministry has called on Israeli citizens staying in Ecuador to remain indoors. Those who are planning travel to Ecuador should reconsider their plans, ministry officials said.

South American countries are a popular destination for young Israeli backpackers.