JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s National Security Council Counter-Terrorism Bureau urged Israelis to leave the Sinai Peninsula immediately.
The severe travel warning issued Saturday called on Israelis in the Sinai to "leave immediately and return home." Families of Israelis in the Sinai also were told to contact their loved ones and tell them of the warning. The bureau also recommended that Israelis continue to refrain from traveling to Sinai.
"Terrorist organizations are continuing to work vigorously toward perpetrating attacks against Israeli tourists on the Sinai beaches in the immediate term," the bureau warned.
Egyptian officials in the Sinai said later on Saturday that the bureau was attempting to sabotage the Sinai’s tourism business, Ynet reported.
South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda told Ynet that Israel was "trying to spread panic with rumors and irresponsible statements." He said that Sinai’s Sharm el-Sheik hotels were at 65 percent capacity.
The gas pipeline to Israel from the Sinai has been attacked by terrorists 14 times in the past 14 months, and long-range Katyusha rockets were fired from Sinai at Eilat earlier this month.