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Israel Warns Citizens of Travel Abroad Over High Holidays, Citing Terror Threats from Iran, ISIS

Warnings extend to Europe as well, which typically has less of a threat from terror groups.
Passengers at Ben Gurion International Airport on October 31, 2021. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Passengers at Ben Gurion International Airport on October 31, 2021. (Photo: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

All Israel News Staff | September 22, 2022

Israel is warning its citizens of possible terror attacks targeting Israelis traveling abroad over the upcoming Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – the New Year and the Day of Atonement. 

The National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Division of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office issued a travel warning to citizens saying that Iran and Islamist terrorist groups, such as ISIS, have “high levels of motivation” to target traveling Israelis and Jews over the holidays. The High Holidays are some of the most popular times of year for Israelis to travel abroad. 

According to the Counter-Terrorism Division, “in recent years, the Iranians and their proxies have increased their activities overseas with the goal of acting against Israelis.”

The warning said that attacks could take place anywhere – even in Europe. 

“We estimate that, in the near term, Iran will continue to act to advance attacks against Israeli targets throughout the world, both in the countries near Iran and even in Western countries like Europe,” the division wrote. “This is backed up by frank statements on the part of the heads of organizations that call for harm to Israelis and Jews.”

Israelis who are planning to travel abroad for the holidays were urged to check the travel advisories for individual countries before buying their tickets. The Counter-Terrorism Division said terrorist groups have a particularly strong presence in the Sinai Peninsula, the Middle East in general, and also in Africa and Asia. 

While these groups may have less of a presence in Europe, Israeli security officials warned specifically about the possibility of attacks there as well. 

The security officials said that several Iranian attempts to attack or kidnap its own dissidents on the continent have been foiled recently and that its extant terror capabilities in Europe could be directed against Israelis instead. 

“There were activities in Western Europe and Scandinavia against opposition figures, and also reports of activities against American officials on European soil,” a security source told Ynet. “Wherever they have the ability to act and they have infrastructure and opportunity, they will not hesitate to act.”

Although security officials reported to Israeli media that no specific threats against Israelis have been uncovered yet, “We need to keep our eyes open.” 

In May and June, Israelis were warned against traveling to Turkey, citing immediate Iranian terrorist threats following the May assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodai, which Iran blamed on Israel and said it would avenge.

“We are calling on Israelis not to fly to Istanbul – and if you don’t have a vital reason, don’t fly to Turkey. If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said at the time. “These terrorist threats are aimed at vacationing Israelis. They are selecting, in a random but deliberate manner, Israeli citizens, with a view to kidnapping or murdering them.” 

In his message, Lapid relayed a message to the Iranians, as well. 

“Whoever harms Israelis will not get away with it. Israel’s long arm will get them, no matter where they are,” he said.

Around the same time, the Mossad and its Turkish counterpart foiled Iranian plans to kidnap and kill a former Israeli ambassador and his wife while they were on holiday in Turkey.

Recently, in Thailand, another popular holiday spot, security forces foiled several Iranian attempts to attack Westerners and Israelis, preventing the establishment of an Iranian terror cell, which could have been used against Israeli targets.  

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