Government Tells All Israeli Travelers in Sinai to Leave Immediately

11 April, 2017, 05:18 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • The Taba border crossing between Israel and Egypt

The Israeli army reported on Monday that a rocket was sacked from Sinai into Israel, striking a greenhouse in Israel's Eshkol region shortly after the order was given to close the border.

Later the same day, Daesh - speaking via a social-media account linked to the group - claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israel on Monday sealed its border crossing into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula following security assessments indicating an immediate threat to tourists posed by jihadists in the region. "It should be noted that the entry of Israeli citizens from Sinai back to Israel will be permitted", the Prime Minister's Office stated.

On Monday morning, in a highly unusual move, the Transportation Ministry shut down the Taba Crossing into the Sinai Peninsula.

Sunday's blasts are the latest against Christians, who make up about 10% of Egypt's predominantly Muslim population of 92 million people.

Israel raised its travel warning for Sinai to its highest level, one out of four, signalling "a very high concrete threat", with a travel warning for the rest of Egypt at level three ("basic-level concrete threat").

The rocket was sacked on Monday morning, causing Code Red alerts to sound in several Israeli communities on the border with Gaza.

Israel called on its citizens to leave Egypt on the eve of the Passover holiday that commemorates the biblical Exodus story of the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt.

The army chief-turned-president hasn't detailed the legal measures needed to declare the state of emergency but according to the Egyptian constitution, the parliament majority must vote in favour of the state of emergency. The holiday is a popular time for Israelis to vacation at resorts in Sinai.

On its official Twitter account, the terror group said "the fighters of the Islamic State have bombed a Jewish settlement in southern Palestine with a Grad rocket".

At least 44 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the attacks on two Coptic churches on the Christian holiday Palm Sunday. Rocket attacks on Israel from Sinai are relatively rare but Islamic militants there have been behind a few attacks in recent years.

IS has been waging a deadly insurgency against Egyptian security forces in the Sinai, but has rarely carried out an attack against Israel.


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