Israel warns citizens they could be targeted by Iran, as outbound tourism renews

The National Security Council issued a travel advisory Monday, warning that Iran may still try to attack Israelis overseas, amid increased international travel following Israel’s rapid vaccination drive.

In the advisory, the NSC said that Iranian officials had threatened to attack Israeli targets over the last few months, adding that Iran had already conducted a bombing attack near the Israeli embassy in India in January.

“Officials in India have determined that Iran was behind the bombing,” the statement said.

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A letter found close to the scene of the blast was a death threat to the ambassador that warned he was being constantly being watched and vowed to avenge the deaths of “martyrs” Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander, who was killed in a January 2020 United States drone strike; Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a top Iraqi militia commander who was killed along with Soleimani; and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s nuclear program, killed in a November 2020 attack Tehran has blamed on Israel.

Israel warns citizens they could be targeted by Iran, as outbound tourism renews

National Security Guard soldiers inspect the site of a blast near the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, Jan. 30, 2021 (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)

The NSC advisory listed countries neighboring Iran as places where Iranians could try to attack Israelis — including Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, and Israel’s two new Gulf peace partners the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — as well as Iraqi Kurdistan, Egypt and Jordan.

The statement also said that “global jihadist organizations, with a special emphasis on the Islamic State,” are demonstrating “high motivation” to launch global attacks, including in countries that Israelis tend to visit.

The advisory came as some 5,800 travelers departed Ben Gurion Airport on Monday, as the cap on the number of travelers allowed in and out of the country expired last week following a High Court of Justice ruling.

It was the highest daily number of passengers to pass through Israel’s main international airport since the virus restrictions were eased, according to Globes.

There were an additional 5,200 arrivals, adding up to 83 flights, according to the report.

Israel’s land and air gateways had been largely closed since January 25, leaving thousands unable to return to the country, in an effort to prevent the potential arrival of coronavirus variants.

Israel warns citizens they could be targeted by Iran, as outbound tourism renews

Passengers seen at Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv on March 8, 2021. (Flash90)

Israel’s morbidity rates have continued to steadily decline as the country has been rolling back virus restrictions, which at their peak shuttered the entire education system, public venues, and most non-essential businesses. Most of the education system has since reopened, along with much of the economy.

Recent infection figures represent a dramatic improvement over the past two months, credited chiefly to a successful vaccination campaign. The success comes despite more infectious virus variants proliferating and the gradual lifting of restrictions.

Israel’s widespread vaccination campaign has seen over 4.7 million people receive two doses of an anti-COVID-19 shot while the rate of positive test results remained below two percent over the past week.

Those who have been vaccinated abroad must initially enter quarantine but may be released after a test showing they have antibodies, in addition to the two virus tests.

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Israel warns citizens they could be targeted by Iran, as outbound tourism renews

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