Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Monday warned Israelis to stay away from the Sinai Peninsula during the upcoming week-long Festival of Tabernacles (Sukkot), which begins Wednesday night, for fear of possible attacks from militants based there.

A statement from the Bureau also urged Israelis currently in the peninsula "to leave at once and return to Israel."

Sinai is a popular vacation spot for Israelis, but in recent months, Israel has become increasing concerned that militant groups have become entrenched there and seek to attack or kidnap Israeli vacationers.

The warning came hours after 24 people were reportedly killed in clashes between Christians and military police in the center of Cairo.

On August 18, a large group of militants infiltrated Israel from the peninsula, shooting up vehicles near the border and killing seven people. The attack was planned in the Gaza Strip by the Popular Resistance Committees and perpetrated by terrorists who crossed from Gaza into Sinai via smuggling tunnels. They then traveled some 200 kilometers to reach an area of the border protected only by a tattered wire fence, about 15 kilometers north of Eilat.

Two weeks ago, unknown assailants blew up an Egyptian pipeline in Sinai that supplies Israel and Jordan with gas. The pipeline has been blown up by assailants believed to be opposed to selling Egyptian gas to Israel six times since President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February