The Israeli National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau has just released a travel warning for Israelis intending to visit western Europe, among other places, during the upcoming Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, which begins next week.
As well as the travel warning for Israelis the Bureau also warned of the heightened likelihood of Islamist based terror attacks on Jewish targets in Europe and further afield.
A report released by the Bureau, which assessed global terror threats for Israelis and Jews, noted that there is a significant danger of western nationals currently fighting abroad for global jihadi groups, including al-Qaeda and the ISIS, who may be returning to their home countries to commit terrorist attacks.
The report cited one example in Mehdi Nemmouche, the French-Algerian and former ISIS fighter who returned to Europe and is believed to have carried out a deadly shooting at the Brussels Jewish Museum, which killed four people including two Israelis.
The International Business Times reported that Brig. Gen. (res.) Yehiam Sasson, former head of the Israeli National Security Council’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau, said the travel warning issued is unprecedented and has never happened before.
“The travel warning of course also includes the traditional countries like Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and to a grave degree Sinai which has turned into a terror kingdom. But it also includes nations like southern Thailand and others. The innovation is that ahead of the Tishrei holidays, western Europe enters the picture.”
The travel warning also mentions the potential danger posed by at least 2,000 ISIS militants, who have travelled to Syria and Iraq, returning back to their home countries at some point, Sasson added.
“These are activists of whom a portion of them came from western countries, and a portion of them converted to Islam in western countries. The threat…is because there are infrastructures and the potential for the flourishing of this phenomenon in Europe.”
In a stark and rather scary warning to Israelis, as well as Jews from around the world — which only make up roughly 0.1 percent of the world’s population — Sasson warned, “Today there is motivation to attack Israelis throughout the globe and also in western Europe. You can travel, but you need to act with awareness by not standing out as an Israeli for example, by avoiding political confrontations, and by not visiting or traveling to unknown places with unknown people.”