Israelis traveling to Western Europe during the coming October holiday period should be aware of their surroundings due the ongoing threat of ISIS terrorist attacks, a source from the Counter- Terrorism Bureau, a part of the National Security Council, warned on Monday.
ISIS targeting crowded places in Western Europe, while not directly aimed at Israelis, could ensnare tourists in mass casualty incidents, the source warned.
Speaking as the NSC released its annual pre-High Holy Day period travel advisories, the source noted that, “We have no concrete information on attempts to carry out attacks during the holiday.
We are refreshing our holiday alerts, both because of concern of attacks against Israelis during the holiday, and global terrorism trends stemming from ISIS, which can affect Israelis who are abroad.”
ISIS worldwide activities include stepped-up efforts to strike in the West, particularly in states that are taking part in the coalition against it in Iraq and Syria.
Increased attempts are “expected to continue, mainly because of the loss of ISIS assets in Iraq and Syria. Their leadership and economic infrastructure has been hit. ISIS is in distress, and it is striking out abroad… urging lone attackers via the Internet to act,” the source said. Radicalized Muslims “adhere to these calls,” he added.
The NSC has no knowledge of specific threats abroad, but is requesting all travelers to be on alert, to stay tuned to local media when traveling, and to avoid entering areas that could become attack sites.
The NSC’s severe travel advisory for Turkey remains in effect, he added, “due to ongoing attacks by ISIS, but also, by local terrorist operatives, who also target tourist areas where Israelis visit.”
A “very severe advisory” is in place for the Sinai Peninsula, the source said, adding that nothing is stopping ISIS-affiliated terrorists from North Sinai-based Wilayat Sayna from moving south across the peninsula, and launching attacks on tourists on southern Sinai beaches.
This year’s advisory contains no changes from the previous one released during the Passover period. Twenty-eight states have travel advisories on them, as do 10 territories. There are six enemy states that Israelis cannot visit by law without permission from the interior minister.
The source noted that 30,000 to 40,000 Israelis are expected to visit Uman, Ukraine, as part of the pilgrimage tradition to the grave of Rabbi Nahman. Israel has been in touch with local police and authorities to provide security advice.
Addressing Africa, the source said a rise in ISIS attacks against Western targets occurred over the past year, including attacks on shopping centers. Israeli companies and businesspeople in east and west Africa should adhere to the NSC’s travel advisories, the source said, noting that ISIS took responsibility, for the first time, for an attack in Kenya (on a Mombasa police station) last week.
Boko Haram continues to be active in western Africa, the source added.
The full advisory can be found on the NSC’s website: http://www.nsc.gov.il/he/ Pages/home.aspx