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Israelis Warned Not to Travel to Sinai, Again

For the second time this Jewish calendar year, Israel's Counter-Terrorism bureau is advising Israelis not to travel to Egypt. For the second time this year, Israelis are refusing to heed the orders.
First Publish: 6/10/2005, 1:37 PM / Last Update: 6/10/2005, 2:06 PM

A statement released by the National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Headquarters in the Prime Minister's Office "recommends that Israelis refrain from visiting Egypt, including the Sinai Peninsula." The statement adds, "the terrorist threat against Israelis has recently intensified."

Despite the urgent warning approximately 9,000 Israelis have entered into Sinai as of Friday morning, with another 3,000 waiting to enter.

Prior to the Rosh Hashana holiday in October, 2004, the Counter-Terrorism office issued similar warnings which also were unheeded. According to Foreign Ministry officials, over ten thousand Israelis traveled to Sinai for the Jewish holidays, of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

On Simchat Torah, the final day of Sukkot (October 7, 2004), the travel warnings materialized tragically as terrorists struck with multiple bomb attacks at popular Sinai resorts. Thirty-four were killed in the blasts at the Taba Hilton, including 12 Israelis.

Approximately double the number of Israeli tourists are visiting Sinai for Shavuot as last year. Shavuot is one of three Jewish holidays­including Sukkot and Pesach­in which Jews were required to visit Jerusalem during Temple times.

Egyptian authorities have charged three individuals with the Taba attacks, who are now standing trial. Of the three, Mohamed Sabah and Mohamed Abdullah Rabaa are currently in custody. Mohamed Ahmed Fulayfel has yet to be caught, but is currently being tried by the court in his absence.

The three terrorists are charged with murder, attempted murder and possessing automatic weapons.