Sinai terror warning hints strain in Egypt-Israel ties

13:44, April 15, 2010      

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by David Harris

The promise of warm waters, stunning coral reefs and miles of uninterrupted beaches attracts thousands of Israelis every spring to the neighboring Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

The visitors ignored the warnings from Israel's Counter- Terrorism Bureau that they should think carefully about travelling to Sinai because of information received on potential attacks against Israeli targets.

However, on Tuesday evening, virtually all Israelis fled Sinai because of a warning far stronger than the usual.

"According to concrete intelligence information, a terrorist action -- in the form of the abduction of Israeli nationals in Sinai -- is expected presently. The National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau calls on all Israelis in Sinai to leave immediately and return home. Families of Israelis in Sinai are asked to contact them and update them accordingly," the warning read.

Following the travel warning, hundreds of Israeli tourists returned home on Wednesday, said Israeli police.

Local analysts believe that rather than a substantial terror threat, the warning from Israel hinted a gap in Israeli-Egyptian diplomatic relations.

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