The head of the Israeli National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau said Israeli citizens traveling abroad face the same threats from Iranian-sponsored Shi’ite terror groups that they did before the Iran nuclear deal was reached.
Eitan Ben-David made the comments Monday in conjunction with the bureau’s release of travel warnings for Israelis ahead of the High Holidays. These terror warnings, while intended for Israelis, can also apply to any Jewish people traveling around the world.
“The Shi’ite terror campaign continues and we can’t say that because of any deal signed with Iran that the threat has diminished,” Ben-David said, the Jerusalem Post reported.
In total, the bureau issued particular travel warnings for Israelis regarding 27 countries. Among those nations, six are placed under legally binding travel bans: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.
In addition to warnings on countries in the Middle East, the bureau also issued advice on travel to some parts of the Western world, such as Belgium, Canada, Australia, France, and Denmark, due to concerns regarding Islamist terror attacks on targets in those areas—particularly Jewish targets.
“We are not ISIS’ main target, but nevertheless we see them as a threat to Israeli targets,” said the Counter-Terrorism Bureau. “But we cannot tell Israelis not to go to Belgium, for example, because ISIS is active in that country.”
The same concern exists due to “Iran’s and Hezbollah’s global terror campaign,” the bureau added.
The bureau also placed additional travel warnings for eight areas within countries. These are Southern Thailand —where there was a terror bombing in Bangkok just last week —Northern Nigeria, the Kashmir region of India, the Chechnya region in Russia, the Mindanao Island in the Philippines, the Sinai peninsula in Egypt, Eastern Senegal, and the shore region of Kenya (including Nairobi).
In Africa, the bureau pointed to dangers to Israeli tourists and businessmen from terror organizations such as Somalia’s Al Shabab, Boko Haram, as well as al-Qaeda and ISIS, which are active in north Africa and the Maghreb. As many as 3,000 tourists, 60 percent of whom are Israeli, enter the Sinai Peninsula from the Taba Border Crossing every month despite local Islamic State terror activity.
“We are very concerned about the fates of the Israelis in the Sinai,” said the bureau.
Other than issuing warnings to Israelis on travel to particular countries or areas, the bureau assessed the state of terror threats in general against Israelis and issued recommendations. The main threat, according to the bureau, involves the possibility of lethal attacks against or kidnappings of Israelis, in particular Israeli businessmen and former members of the Israeli government. The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah continues to blame Israel for the death of senior member Imad Fayez Mughniyeh, while Iran continues to blame Israel for the death of three nuclear scientists, both of which could contribute to possible attacks against Israelis, the bureau said.
The bureau, therefore, asks traveling Israelis to maintain vigilance while traveling and to avoid traveling entirely those nations on which the bureau has placed a travel warning. Israelis staying abroad should be careful and resist any unexpected or tempting business, pleasure, or other meeting offer, particularly anything held in remote locations or after dark. Israelis should also avoid letting suspicious people into their hotel rooms. Finally, Israelis should avoid sticking to one particular travel route or frequenting the same attractions; instead, they should vary their routine in order to make themselves a less likely target, according to the bureau.