Al-Qaida may attack in Sinai, says Israeli paper

Israel’s National Security Council issued a severe terror and kidnapping threat, warning Israelis against travelling to Egypt and Sinai, said Israeli daily Haaretz on Friday.

“The council specified that they had received intelligence of a possible terror attack by a radical Islamic organization affiliated with al-Qaida that has been stationed in the Sinai,” the paper said.

“The suspected terror organization had already picked a site for the possible terror attack,” a senior Israeli security official was quoted as saying in Haaretz’s report.

The paper also said that Tel Aviv issued a warning calling all Israelis to leave Sinai immediately, and urged them to contact their family members to let them know of their whereabouts.

On Thursday, Egyptian security forces arrested a cell of 20 people suspected of being part of a radical Islamic group that plotted to attack Israeli tourists in south Sinai.

The militants were arrested in their homes in three different cities in Sinai, security sources said.  

Unconfirmed reports suggest those arrested may be affiliated with the Gaza-based militant cell The Army of Islam.

Egyptian-Israeli intelligence cooperation was broached in a 10 November Time magazine story.

According to the piece, Egyptian intelligence supported the Israeli military operation to kill a Palestinian commander in The Army of Islam cell.

The assassinated man, Mohammed Nammam, was a senior commander in the militant group thought to have ties with Al-Qaeda. He was allegedly plotting an attack against US forces based in Sinai.

Bedouins administering tourist camps in the Nuweiba-Taba area told Al-Masry Al-Youm increased security measures were implemented, particularly at checkpoints.

Some related the heightened measures to typical security procedures ahead of holidays.

Others said the increased security is due to the fact that trucks laden with goods were recently seized on a Sinai road near Ras Sidr. The seizure, however, is thought to be an act of robbery rather than terrorism.

A string of terrorist attacks hit south Sinai in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

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