JERUSALEM – Numerous intelligence reports have prompted Israel’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau (CTB) to issue a global terror alert to all Jewish citizens who intend to visit various countries during the forthcoming High Holiday period and the upcoming 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The CTB pointed to the growing possibility of a terror attack on Jewish and Israeli targets in major foreign capitals as the basis for the alert.
According to the CTB, terror groups such as al Qaeda and Hizbullah are seeking to carry out various attacks “timed to coincide with the forthcoming Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot festivals.” The bureau said that the anniversary of 9/11 was also likely to be “a favored period” for al Qaeda and global jihadist groups to launch targeted attacks.
Earlier this week, several European newspapers reported that al Qaeda carried out reconnaissance missions in an effort to find vulnerable European and British rail links in preparation for a future attack.
The CTB instructed Israelis to delay “non-essential” visits to Turkey, a popular destination for both Israeli tourists and business professionals. The growing anti-Israel rhetoric by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with his support for the Sunni rebel groups battling Shiite Hizbullah militias seeking to preserve the pro-Iranian regime of Bashar al-Assad across the border in Syria, has increased the possibility of an attack on Israelis in various locales across Turkey. Israeli newspapers have reported that thousands of Israeli tourists are currently vacationing in Turkey.
Israeli security officials are also considering a variety of steps to stop the flow of Israelis to a number of Red Sea hotel and tourist sites in northern Sinai, just across the border from Eilat. Despite the CTB’s “severe” terror alert, hundreds of Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs continue to cross into Sinai, even during running gun battles between Egyptian forces and various jihadist terror groups.
With a Channel 10 News Arab affairs reporter claiming that Sinai was rapidly showing signs of becoming a “second Afghanistan,” Israel’s Shin Bet announced earlier this week that it was forming a new top secret unit to monitor – and hopefully prevent – attacks from 15 different al Qaeda-affiliated groups operating across the Sinai.
In other developments, Israel, Saudi Arabia and several Gulf Arab emirates have, over the past few days, sent diplomats to Washington and key European capitals. They are urging high-ranking government officials to refrain from downgrading or cutting economic or military ties with Egypt’s ruling military despite its crackdown on supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. Israeli and Saudi Arabian officials have warned Western leaders that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is seeking to destabilize a number of Arab countries across the Middle East. “It’s either the army or anarchy,” one diplomat was quoted as telling his American counterpart.
The blunt diplomatic assessment was buttressed in an expose written by Yossi Beilin, an architect of the Oslo Accords, in Monday’s Israel Hayom newspaper. Beilin wrote that a senior Egyptian official admitted that Morsi had actually lost last year’s Egyptian election to ex-Air Force commander Ahmed Shafik by a narrow margin. But fearing an outbreak of violence by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood supporters, the Egyptian Army rigged the election results – turning power over to Morsi. The new president then replaced the army’s leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi with General Abdel al-Sisi.
Beilin’s source maintained that when al-Sisi realized that Morsi and his allies had no idea how to govern the nation of approximately 84 million people and were unwilling to cooperate with the army, he moved to depose Morsi.