Israelis were yesterday officially advised to steer clear of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt during the upcoming Jewish festival of Sukkot, the anti-terror bureau said in a statement.
“In light of the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, the anti--terror bureau reiterates its severe travel warning in respect to the Sinai, and recommends against traveling there,” it said, urging all Israelis currently staying to “leave the area immediately” and return to Israel.
Resorts dotted along the Red Sea in the Sinai are a popular holiday destination for Israelis seeking a relatively cheap break in the sun.
However, since the start of the massive uprising in Egypt that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, security in the peninsula has deteriorated significantly, with Egypt sending troops into the area to try to bring it back under control.
Over the past eight months, militants in the Sinai have blown up a pipeline supplying gas to the Jewish state at least six times, and in August, a group of gunmen infiltrated Israel from the peninsula and carried out a series of deadly shooting attacks that left eight Israelis dead.
Sukkot, which begins at sundown tomorrow, is a week-long holiday when people eat and sleep in makeshift booths in their gardens to remember the tents in which the Bible says the Jewish people lived for 40 years in the desert.
The holiday, which is also known as the Feast of Tabernacles, is one of three pilgrimage festivals when Jews are commanded to visit Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Israeli police yesterday said they arrested a second suspect following an arson attack on a mosque blamed on a pro-settler militant group, known by its slogan “price tag.”
Israel named a special task force to investigate last week’s blaze in the Israeli Arab village of Tuba-Zangariya, amid fears it could exacerbate tensions with Palestinians.