Cyprus Expels 30 Israelis Headed for Casino in North

Thirty Israeli tourists were kicked out of Cyprus early on Friday after violating the terms of their permits, police said.

Police intercepted a busload of tourists heading towards the capital Nicosia on Thursday night, in the opposite direction to the clubbing resort of Ayia Napa which was their stated destination.

"They went back on the same plane they arrived in," a police spokesman told Reuters.

An official from the Cypriot embassy in Tel Aviv told Haaretz that the expulsions were "routine."

"The expulsion was part of the Cypriot government's ongoing economic sanctions against what it sees a pirate state in the north of the island," he said.

Police suspected the tourists were planning to cross into northern Cyprus, a breakaway enclave recognized only by Turkey but popular with gamblers visiting its many casinos.

By law, a tourist is violating the terms of their stay if they give immigration authorities misleading information on their destination, the spokesman said.

Earlier this year authorities deported another group of Israeli tourists crossing into northern Cyprus.